New York Times freelance writer provides no news on Brooklyn microradio

Dec 23, 2007 11:29 pm
Today's The New York Times has a severely under-reported story about the plethora of microradio activity on the Brooklyn airwaves for the past fifteen years.

Without any sort of news peg (Ditmas Park Blog is taking credit for tipping off the Times), Alex Mindlin quotes folks from WBGO (88.3-FM) and WFUV (90.7-FM), with George Evans, the head engineer of the latter, going so far as advocating the draconian Florida law that allows local police officers who know nothing about Federal broadcasting regulations to arrest so-called pirate radio station personnel. Since the Federal government, and not the states or cities, regulate the broadcast spectrum, this Florida law will surely be thrown out once it is challenged in court.

Mindlin mentions the January 2007 $10,000 fine charged against Elroy Simpson of Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, but fails to mention the Federal Communications Commission's Nov. 2 letter of Notice of Unlicensed Operation to Sean Buckner in Brooklyn for operating on 94.3-FM without a license, or any other recent FCC action.

The FCC is constantly contacting and fining Brooklyn-based microradio stations, and most of the stations remain on the air, operating on the few NYC frequencies that have any breathing room at all between licensed stations. Mindlin correctly mentions the many Haitian-oriented stations, and the several Hasidic operators, and grasps that the Flatbush area is a hotbed of activity. But he fails to mention several prominent hip hop and hipster stations, and fails to address the "why" at all. Mindlin's main news flash: WFUV's web site has received 294 complaints about interference from pirates since August, though they could all be from one person as he doesn't question this number at all.
--Tom Roe