FCC Gets Brooklyn Duo Arrested for Pirate Radio Station

The Fresh Kid is off the air.

In a press release yesterday, Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes announced the arrests of Seon Bruce, 40, and Solomon Malka, 51, for operating a pirate radio station out of Manhattan and Brooklyn. The defendants have been charged with a class-A misdemeanor, Unauthorized Radio Transmission. If convicted, they could serve up to a year in jail.

Mr. Bruce is believed to have been the deejay for the station, calling himself “The Fresh Kid.”

The men were broadcasting on the radio frequency 104.7FM without a Federal Communications Commission license, DA Hynes said in a statement. A radio broadcast license in New York can cost millions of dollars. Several licensed station owners had complained that the pirate radio station was cutting into their business, the Daily News reported. The pair were allegedly selling ads on the station.

In April, an FCC engineer tracked the underground radio station’s signal to a rooftop in Manhattan, where detectives promptly seized the transmitting equipment. Mr. Malka told investigators that he had installed the equipment, and was aware that the station was operating without a license.

Detectives also found transmitting equipment for another radio station, 91.7FM, which was not broadcasting at the time. Mr. Malka falsely claimed that he had an FCC license for the station. In June, 91.7FM was found to be on the air, and the equipment was seized from an elevator room at the top of an apartment building in Brooklyn.

New York has seen more FCC enforcement against pirate operations than any other state, according to a Federal Communications Commission spokesperson, with 330 official actions including citations, fines and shutdowns logged against pirate radio stations since 2003. This further supports our theory that New York is basically the underground college radio station of America.


Remembering the radio pirate from the seventies and early eighties, Allan Weiner and  Joseph Ferraro continued throughout the 1970s and 80s with various unlicensed stations. Some projects were operated separately from one another, but others saw the duo collaborating as they did on Radio Newyork International, which operated from a ship, the M/V Sarah in international waters off the Long Island coast. Again raided by the FCC, Weiner and Ferraro began purchasing airtime occasionally on licensed shortwave station WWCR.

Another attempted shortwave station operated from a ship at sea, this time from aboard the M/V Fury and operated from off the South Carolinacoast, was raided before the ship had left the harbor when the FCC claimed to have monitored test transmissions coming from the ship. The South Carolina operations were to be funded partially by controversial fundamentalist preacher Brother Stair, whose broadcasts would also be carried from the ship. The ties to Stair, whose views stood in sharp contrast to Weiner’s, led to accusations that Weiner had “sold out” his long held beliefs in pacifism and agnosticism. Stair frequently clashed with Weiner and especially Weiner’s engineer Scott Becker during the abortive project.

In January 1997, Loompanics Unlimited published Access to the Airwaves: My Fight For Free Radio, Weiner’s autobiography ghost-written by Anita McCormick.


Posted on July 3, 2013, in Amateur Radio, FCC, Government, New York, Pirate Radio and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Things like this happen because it costs millions of dollars for a license. Things like this happen because for the most part, especially in big cities, radio is completely owned by giant corporations like Clear Channel, Cumulus, and others who make radio nothing more than remotely controlled, satellite fed, cookie cutter, cash generating cows, doing the absolute minimum to meet FCC public service rules. Look at the capital city of Topeka, Kansas. Not ONE broadcasting radio station there is operated by local broadcasters. None. Every station is owned by a large corporation. I’m not saying this makes pirate radio valid or legal, but it explains why it happens. The ability to provide a voice for the people, over the people’s airwaves has been eliminated. EVen if you only want to play music on your pirate station, it’s probably because the big money making juke boxes only play a very limited music spectrum because they want to reach the most people, the largest and lowest common denominator. Even what are purported to be affordable “LPFM” (low power FM) stations require hundreds of thousands of dollars in engineering costs and a mountain of paperwork to put on the air.

    The good news is, internet radio is the future of broadcasting. For a minimal cash outlay, the average guy can get “on the air” without FCC involvement. No transmitters, no big buck engineers, etc. About all you need is a computer, a good internet connection, and to make your choice of how to stream it — your own server or one of many inexpensive services. You will still need to license any music you play, easily the most expensive part of the operation, but even then you could choose public domain, creative commons, and copyleft music and not have to pay that either. Or don’t be a music station!

    A great example of successful internet broadcasting is WREN in Topeka. A bunch of old time radio DJ’s wanted to buy the old WREN station and put it back on the air. They hired engineers, architects, all the rest, and found out it would cost millions to do so. So with a free computer they started an online station. Note I have NO connection to them whatsoever, except as a listener and as a curious radio guy myself. They sound like a 100% regular, real, live radio station, because they are — they’re just sending the signal out on the internet rather than through a transmitter. I listen in the car on my iphone plugged into my car stereo. The audio quality is way better than traditional AM, much better than satellite, maybe not as good as broadcast FM. When you consider that a large percentage of workers these days are sitting in front of, or near a computer, listening is easy. Every smartphone can listen. I use Shoutcast and get a nice strong clear signal. Now they have a nice studio storefront in the arts district and are gaining a rather substantial fan base. ot to mention selling enough advertising to make it a viable business. wrenradio dot net.

    Terrestrial radio as it is today is going to have a battle over the next few years trying to survive. Oh, me? 40 years this year in the terrestrial broadcasting industry. Buy some miracle, I’m still working for a locally owned, live, small town, locally programmed “real” radio station.

  1. Pingback: Wed/Thu May 12 – Allan Weiner – The Other Side of Midnight

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