Brooklyn pirates “hijacking” the airwaves

pirateThanks to many of you who sent me a link  to this article in the New York Post. Here’s an excerpt:

Brooklyn radio fans are fighting a pirate invasion — demanding a crackdown on illicit Caribbean, Hebrew and shock-jock stations hijacking the airwaves.

Dozens of unlicensed shows operate in New York City on an average evening and the state is home to 25 percent of the nation’s pirate transmissions, according to the FCC.

But many radio amateurs aren’t forced to walk the plank. Instead, they find new hideaways for their equipment as FCC budget cuts decrease enforcement.

There were 46 FCC field actions in New York City in 2013, compared to just 20 through July 31 of this year, government data show.

Ike, a Sunset Park resident, launched Brooklyn Pirate Watch, a Twitter feed — @BkPirateWatch — to track rogue radio transmissions.

“I’m fascinated by the pirates,” he said. “Especially .?.?. their ability to get support from advertisers who .?.?. don’t care that they’re advertising on illegal stations.”

“Brooklyn Pirate Watch” has clocked one pirate at 94.3 FM, where a host shouted for female listeners to tune in while wearing lingerie. There’s also Radyo Independans, a

Haitian Creole station squatting on 90.9 FM, according to Jersey City indie station WFMU — which claims its legal broadcasts at 91.1 FM are often interrupted by its illicit rival.

[…] Pirates are going strong because the radio tools are cheap and their audiences are often “way less wired,” WFMU general manager Ken Freedman said.

Continue reading at the NY Post website…

I love that last quote by WFMU general manager, Ken Freedman. If listeners in Brooklyn, New York are “way less wired” imagine how shortwave listeners are in, say, South Sudan?

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3 thoughts on “Brooklyn pirates “hijacking” the airwaves

  1. Ambient

    It is a little known fact that while considering whether to do LPFM, the FCC contemplated an alternative — on its own initiative — informally known as “the Cube”.

    It would have launched a low-power digital community broadcasting service in a band higher than 88-108 MHz. Listeners would use a downconverter + lo-po FM transmitter, for use with conventional FM receiver.

    This alternative was mentioned in a public occasion by an FCC official but received no press coverage at the time.

  2. John Figliozzi

    There’s another reason pirate radio is so rife in Brooklyn. The current structure of AM/FM radio is not serving or grossly underserving whole segments of the population. These pirates fill a need. You’d think the “masters of the universe” (tongue firmly in cheek) that run commercial radio in the largest radio market in the country could figure out a way to tap that audience with even a handful of the exorbitant number of stations they’re allowed to own and operate there by virtue of the FCC’s abandonment of its regulatory responsibilities and the Congress that abets that.

  3. David Goren

    I just happened to do a bandscan on the Brooklyn, FM band from my QTH in Flatbush on Sunday 8/31 and logged 29 pirates. Typically, there are more on the weekends than weekdays. About 90% were of Caribbean origin split between English and Creole broadcasts. There was one Hebrew language pirate operating in the Orthodox Jewish neighborhood of Boro Park. It’s not new…ethnic pirate activity in Brooklyn began to rise starting around 1996 and has continued unabated since. Previous to then, the NYC pirates were mainly limited to the “kids playing radio” variety and they were more circumspect, operating late at night and on open frequencies. Now, the pirates are heedless and routinely block low power college stations. Tech skills are often low, lot’s of distortion, over modulation and hum…sometimes, a cd will start skipping and stay that way for hours.


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