What's With All the Pirate Radio Stations?
  • Does Flatbush have the highest concentration of illegal FM pirate radio stations in the country? Has anyone else noticed this? They are CRAMMED into the radio dial, causing interference to lots of legitimate radio stations. The epicenter seems to be in Flatbush, as many of them are Caribbean and run lots of ads for concerts and events in Flatbush, but you can receive many of them as far away as the Slope, Crown Heights, Dyker Heights, Bay Ridge, and especially Kensington, Borough Park, and Sunset Park (where I live). A few of them may come from other areas, like a Hebrew one that presumably comes from Borough Park, but I hear more of them more clearly than anywhere else when I'm in Flatbush. 

    Non-commercial stations like WKCR, WFMU, WNYU, etc. get especially badly hit by these illegal FM operators that cause lots of interference. I guess the FCC is overworked and understaffed?

    Somebody (cough cough) listens in and offers up updates on them here:
  • I find broadcast radio in NYC to be full of many junky station, so on a serious note, I'm not sure how I would know if I were listening to the station that's licensed for that frequency, or a pirate one.

    There was a pirate station outside of Boston that broadcasted for years until the FCC got up enough gumption and shut them down. 

    On another serious note, where does one get the equipment to begin broadcasting on a pirated frequency?
  • True, we have a lot of lousy commercial stations in NYC which is why I listen to a lot of the non-commercial stations instead, like WNYC, WNYU, WFMU, WKCR, WBGO, etc. and these are the ones that suffer most from interference from pirate radio stations. Most of the pirates seem to be Caribbean, oddly enough. There are lots of Haitian Creole pirates and lots of reggae pirates. Very few licensed radio stations around here play reggae on a regular basis and none feature Haitian Creole programming as far as I know. So if you hear that, you are listening to a pirate, most likely. Also @BkPirateWatch on Twitter reports there is also one strong Hebrew pirate and a few broadcasting things like Christian R&B and such.

    From what I've heard, getting the equipment is cheaper and easier than ever, probably online, so that's why so many of them exist now. I wish they would just broadcast online instead so that they wouldn't interfere with anybody. You don't need a license for that. Presumably much of their target audience is low-income and doesn't have reliable Internet access, but that's no excuse.
  • I wish they would just broadcast online instead so that they wouldn't interfere with anybody. You don't need a license for that. Presumably much of their target audience is low-income and doesn't have reliable Internet access, but that's no excuse.






    Also dollar van drivers and other cars in the area. That's where I hear it most
  • Very few licensed radio stations around here play reggae on a regular basis and none feature Haitian Creole programming as far as I know. So if you hear that, you are listening to a pirate, most likely.



    Yeah, now that you say that, the station that erratically broadcasted outside of Boston served the Haitian community.  From what I heard (no pun intended,) the biggest problem with the FCC shutting down the station was that no one could physically locate it.  Everyone knew about it, because of the broadcast, but pinpointing the actual location (which might have moved a lot, if that could have put the FCC off the scent) was difficult.  So, I guess my next question is how does the FCC find these broadcasters?
  • There's also one around Eastern Pkwy and Howard that knocks out everything from about 102 to 105 on the dial. Sounds like a Haitian gospel station.
  • As alluded to above, the people valued most by radio stations (those with money) now listen via the Internet.

    As a result of being "mostly" driven by complaints from radio stations, the FCC may now receive fewer complaints and take less action.

    Radio is returning to its original form....
  • My father is the chief engineer to an FM station (that shall remain nameless, just because)- his station gets jacked by these guys (actually one in particular). 

    I've helped him by reporting the time and date I've heard the signal interruption. My father in turn reports it to the FCC. The FCC then has to determine where the signal is coming from, go to the court for a warrant and then they go serve it for an arrest. This process alone can take months. These guys know they have a limited amount of time at any given location, so they move every few months. The warrant is only for a specific address- if they move, the FCC has to go BACK to the court to get the address changed, and the whole cycle starts back again.

    It's very frustrating, to say the least. 

    tangledmarbles- I'm going to send your Twitter link to my father- he will absolutely appreciate this help, especially if you're paying attention to the 102-105 area of the dial. 

    Thanks! 

  • Very few licensed radio stations around here play reggae on a regular basis and none feature Haitian Creole programming as far as I know.


    .


    107.5 plays reggae/dancehall every week Saturday and Sunday nights.


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