Best Rogue Radio Station - 2009
Pirate Cat Radio (87.9 FM)
Pirate Cat Radio is an unlicensed low-wattage radio station that has managed to continue broadcasting for more than 10 years despite persistent threats by the Federal Communications Commission to pull the plug. According to a 2007 story in the San Jose Mercury News, Pirate Cat founder Daniel Roberts (aka Monkey) contends that FCC rules allow radio stations to operate without a license in times of national emergency or war. We're not lawyers, so we can't vouch for his argument, but it's fine by us so long as Pirate Cat stays on the airwaves. With a schedule that includes al-Jazeera broadcasts, classic radio dramas, new band showcases, stand-up comedy, and political talk, Pirate Cat Radio's programming can feel like an incredibly bizarre mix — but one that works well with San Francisco's cultural makeup. The Mission District–based studio has a hangout spot that's often open to the public, with a little adjacent cafe where you can watch the live broadcasts and purchase treats such as tea, cookies, vegan doughnuts, or, as celebrity chef and TV host Anthony Bourdain discovered while filming an episode of his program No Reservations here a few months back, a maple bacon latte.