Pirate Radio Stations Busted

Pirate Radio
Photo from Interrobang

Some more pirate radio shut down news from Ofcom today as they announce three arrests and twenty pirate station transmitters confiscated across four London boroughs. The reasons, they say, they do this are that:

Illegal broadcasters can cause serious interference to safety-of-life services such as the fire brigade and air traffic control, as well as legitimate radio stations.

I always think with pirate radio there is a dewey eyed feeling and that they’re just providing a service that those evil commercial broadcasters don’t fill. Whilst I think they may have had a point ten years ago, nowadays I don’t think pirates have a leg to stand on. Community FM licences, RSLs, internet broadcasting, other digital platforms – there’s never been a more legal and accessible way to get on the radio.

The reason pirates hijack FM bands is that they want to make the most money possible by stealing FM spectrum (and not being bothered about potentially interfering with emergency services or legal stations). If it was about the music (licensing costs they don’t pay, by the way) or giving presenters a chance (who they fleece by making them pay for presenting fees) then they would go down the largely available legal route.

Sadly most of these stations will be up and running again by the weekend. Why, well when your business is interrupted you need to get back on as soon as possible. They need to keep making that money.

4 thoughts on “Pirate Radio Stations Busted”

  1. Couldn’t agree more Matt. How do Pirate radio stations make money? Apart from charging DJs to present. Do they have have advertising? If so, why aren’t advertisers targetted by authorities, in order to cut off the money supply?

  2. Pirate radio stations in glasgow dont charge presenters or make money the just do it for the enjoyment and it keeps young people off the streets,instead of going out on the streets drinking they will sit in the house drinking listening to the radio

  3. It is retarded to think that FM frequencies can in any way interfere with emergency services’ radios. The emergency services and aerospace radios use VHF and UHF, which is a long way away from FM.

  4. I operated a pirate radio station a 10 years ago. we were providing music for the youth as the market was not being provided legally. we were offered to advertise but refused, we made money by organising Teenage Discos, this covered the cost to pay for equipment and running cost, not for profit. almost all of the presenters have moved on to legal radio and wont not have got the chance otherwise. i would agree the fact they “can” interfere with emergency services as most pirates are not investing into broadcasting industry standard equipment, most use cheap transmitters that have bad filtering and harmonics end up anywhere.

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