ZOOMIN' - Zoom Black Magic Radio - THE STORY OF ZOOM.........

by: Black Rose

The Beginning:

Zoom Black Magic Radio started in 1985 in Fresno, California, because the community needed a voice. There were lots of disenfranchised people. Zoom as we know it today started just with us experimenting with a Radio Shack transmitter. I ran across a friend of mine who was building a low power transmitter, and we happened to stop by his garage one evening and he was experimenting with AM carrier current, experimenting with radio, and we let it be known that we were looking for a transmitter, and he just happened to have one. He let us toy around with it. Then we built a bigger and better one.

Then we had some minor hassles with the FCC and we moved to Seaside, California for a couple of months. Then the FCC came there and ousted us, and we had to flee under cover of darkness from Seaside. So we went back to Fresno where we set up a permanent base and decided to make a stand, and we sat there for about 5 or 6 years. We were operating from an old broken-down trailer behind a house in the West Fresno ghetto. We had a mixer, a mixing console, a transmitter, and we had a 90-foot radio-TV tower. We had production facilities, and we were operating, at one point, for 24 hours a day, around the clock: A regular radio station an the air, serving the community with public service announcements, breaking new music, dealing with city issues. We offered some sort of training facility. Many young people wanted to get into radio, and we opened our doors to them.

The Busts

Zoom has been busted three times by the FCC. Three times they have come and stolen our equipment even though we've never broken any laws. The last one really hurt us. They came onto my father's property and took our equipment, thousands of dollars worth of equipment. The FCC lied to the press, to the public, stating that through the use of sophisticated computerized equipment, they were able to track us down. Well the FCC never had to track us down, because we were completely open about what we were doing. In fact we sent several letters to the FCC, so it wasn't a matter of them tracking us down.

We weren't even on the air during the last bust. Yet they got a warrant to search and seize and brought in a dozen U.S. Marshals and five people from the FCC. They came into the yard like stormtroopers, tearing through the house. They were looking under beds, in closets, everywhere, when it was really uncalled for, because everyone in Fresno knew the transmitter was in our transmitter shack. Their attitude was that you will not say certain things or you will come under martial law.

The Last Year and a Half

We did a thing with Ice Cube. His "Predator" LP was about to come out. Ice Cube, like many rappers was under fire and couldn't get airplay. We were approached to break the "Predator" album, we broke it here in LA. We agreed with much of the content and we were excited to do it. We moved the transmitter to LA and set up for the first time on Ice Cube's property in Baldwin Hills. We set up there in the hills and then we went down to Roscoes Chicken & Waffles, where we also set up. We did two broadcasts.

The Future

Zoom Black Magic Radio is on the air in Fresno sporadically now. That will continue. But we can't operate openly anymore because we can't afford to lose any more equipment. We're getting ready to launch ZOOM Black Magic in Los Angeles. We're testing our equipment and we're ready to work from rooftops, tops of trees, and possibly from the backs of vehicles. Keep cruising the dial because we are coming!

Where Did The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Come From?

The FCC came into existence in the 1930's under the war powers act to create some sort of orderliness in the use of the airwaves. If you dig deeper, you find that in 1933 when this War Powers Act came up, there were capitalist groups in this country who could see they could use this new technology both for mind control and to make money. They needed a way to get their propaganda out and to prevent anyone else from getting the truth out. So they created broadcast groups, and ran prices up, and came up with this FCC to make sure if you didn't have a license you couldn't play the game.

Who Does the Zoomin'?

Zoom founder Black Rose worked for eight years for Disney's Retlaw Broadcasting where he did TV production. Black Rose also was a partner in a cable radio station for four years. Program Director Mr. Ebony has a collection of over 6,000 jazz, soul, and rock albums which he uses to piece together his legendary all-night shows. Larry is the technical wizard and a wide variety of talents, from Daddy Rich to the Gospel Lady serve as DJ's. Several people, including some prominent music publications, have agreed to help program Zoom upon its launch in LA.


Zoom Black Magic and unlicensed broadcasters are under constant attack by the government for one simple reason: The fact that you can spend $150 and put a radio station on the air that puts you on par with people who spend millions of dollars. That is one big no-no in this corrupt system. You might be able to contradict the lies the government puts out through the mainstream media. They can't afford to have that.


Zoom has lots of listeners. People out there, you'd be surprised how they find out. The local press helps us. And through word of mouth. There's a lot of people scanning the dial, and when they hear something that is different, with a certain amount of relevancy in terms of what is taking place, they will listen, and they will tell their friends, and that's what we depend on. When we're able to stay on the air consistently, our phone lines burn up. Zoom even showed up in the Arbitron ratings once.


Write to Zoom at 8 Kaviland St., Fresno, CA 93706 or call 209-268-3461. The Constitution says you've got a right to be on the air. Do it!

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