Federal agents last week raided an unlicensed radio station broadcasting from a Roslindale Square office building.
Although Bel Top Boston, which bills itself as the "top Haitian news station in Boston" was off the air this afternoon, past history suggests owner David Cange will try to return to the air at 88.5 MHz. In 2010, he ignored a warning from the FCC to stop broadcasting from the same building, 4258 Washington St., which is better known for the Vouros Greek bakery and the El Chavo Mexican supplies store.
In a statement, US Attorney Carmen Ortiz said:
The US Attorney's office reports federal agents seized radio-transmitting equipment from a pirate radio station transmitting from a Brockton home, in part because it was interfering with an air-traffic-control frequency for Logan Airport.
The seizure has nothing to do with Touch FM, an unlicensed station in Dorchester run by Clarence Clemons, who says he is running for mayor of Boston this year. Touch FM has assumed the role of a community resource for Boston's black community with the demise of other programming on licensed radio and TV stations.
The Brockton seizure happened March 1 after, the feds say, residents of the house had been told several times to knock it off. The Globe has more. In recent years, Brockton has become a pirate radio hotspot.
Earlier this month, federal agents seized the equipment used by an unlicensed Mattapan radio station whose signal brought complaints from a licensed broadcaster - and Logan Airport.
The US Attorney's Office in Boston reports FCC agents executed a warrant against Datz Hits Radio which broadcast on 99.7 FM from Outlook Road in Mattapan. In a statement, US Attorney Carmen Ortiz said:
It is easy to take for granted the variety and quality of sound we enjoy in local radio stations. Underlying this is the licensing authority of the FCC, which ultimately ensures that legitimate stations can operate without interference from pirate stations.
Recent years have seen the rise of a number of pirate stations in the Boston area serving African-American and Haitian communities.
Hot 97, which thumbed its nose at FCC investigators and set up shop in Dorchester after being chased out of Hyde Park, has changed its frequency to 87.7 MHz and apparently boosted its power, too: Last week, I could barely hear it here in Roslindale; today, at the new frequency, it sounded like it was next door. It was still IDing itself as Hot 97.
An unlicensed radio station kicked out of a Hyde Park office building is now broadcasting from a house in Dorchester.
Hot 97 Boston had been serving up hip hop, reggae and gospel from the basement of One Westinghouse Plaza, but after a visit from FCC inspectors, the station shut up shop and moved to 76 Esmond St. in Dorchester.
On Sept. 3, the FCC notified owner Delroy Johnson to knock it off. He's apparently paying them as much heed as Touch 106, another Dorchester pirate: The station is still on the air this afternoon (although it's now a bit harder to hear here in Roslindale).
File under: Alrighty, then. Whoever operates The Wave, an unlicensed oldies station in Boxford, reports:
[O]ver the weekend, while I was not at home my coax was cut, and in the process my transmitter was damaged.
The coax has been replaced and I am operating at greatly reduced power. I have reported it to the local police we are looking for information leading to the arrest of whomever did this.
Via the Boston Radio Mailing List.
Scott Fybush reports that when a new pirate radio station went on the air last month, it promptly got a visit from FCC investigators, because its 97.5 frequency is right next to the frequency used by a legal station, Brockton's WKAF, at 97.7, which repeats the signal of WAAF.
Fybush reports the illegal station's offices are in the Westinghouse Plaza office park. The Bulletin - also located there - recently profiled the station.
The FCC visit apparently had as much effects as similar visits - and fines - have had on the similar Touch FM in Dorchester: None. As I type this, Hot FM is coming in just fine, in stereo, here in Roslindale (on the Hyde Park line, maybe a couple miles as the crow flies from Westinghouse Plaza). The WAAF repeater is also coming in fine, a notch up the dial.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, Sept. 29, 2008
contact: Keyanna Graham
Talk Show Host and Community Activist Exits Touch-FM
'Big Morning Thing' host and Touch-FM Creative/Program Director, MC Spice resigns volunteer post at Boston low-power urban radio station.
A station calling itself WHOT plans to set up shop at 97.1 and promises plenty of hot hip-hop action - no doubt interfering with Talk 96.9's many listeners in the inner city. Radio traditionalists, however, hope the FCC has something to say about this, although given how effective the commission has been in getting Touch FM off the air, they probably shouldn't hold their breath.
The FCC has ordered a local man to pay a $17,000 fine for running an unlicensed radio station on Blue Hill Avenue.
The FCC says Charles Clemons continued to run Touch FM at 106.1 FM even after FCC field investigators - acting on a complaint from engineers at licensed stations - told him to knock it off.
When confronted with the station's operation, Clemons did not deny operating the station. The agents advised Clemons that he must discontinue the unlicensed operation immediately and outlined the possible penalties for continued operation of an unlicensed station. When the agents asked to conduct an inspection of the station, Clemons refused. When questioned, he stated that the studio was at a different location, but refused to provide the address.
The order is dated Feb. 29, but the FCC ruled this week that Clemons was now a deadbeat because he had failed to pay the fine.
As of this morning, at least, the station was not streaming on its Web site. UPDATE, 3:20 p.m.: It's back, at least on the Web.