Caribbean pirate radio station operators busted in US

NEW YORK, United States, Monday July 8, 2013 – Two men have been arrested for allegedly operating a Caribbean pirate radio station here.

The District Attorney in Brooklyn, Charles J. Hynes, said police arrested Seon Bruce, 40, known as “DJ Fresh Kid”, and Solomon Malka, 51, charging them with “unauthorized radio transmission,” a class-A misdemeanor.  If convicted, they each face up to a year in jail. 

“A person is charged with unauthorized radio transmission when he/she knowingly makes a radio transmission on a radio frequency assigned and licensed by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) for use by AM and FM radio stations without authorization or having first obtained a license from the FCC,” said Charles in a statement. 

“The defendants did not have a FCC license for radio transmission, yet they were on radio frequency 104.7 FM,” he added. 

Charles said his office conducted an investigation, with cooperation from the FCC, which revealed that Bruce was “acting as a deejay for 104.7 FM.” He said detectives bought air time from Bruce on 104.7 FM to run a commercial, and on April 18, an FCC engineer tracked the signal for the radio station to an antenna on the rooftop of 30 Broad Street, a 50-story building in Manhattan. 

That same evening, detectives executed a search warrant and seized the transmitting equipment for 104.7 FM in a room on top of the roof. 

Solomon Malka told investigators that he installed the equipment and was aware that the radio station did not have a license. Detectives  also found equipment for another radio station, 91.7 FM.  

According to Charles the transmitting equipment for that station was not on, and nothing could be heard on that frequency at the time.  

The investigation was triggered after several licensed radio station owners complained that the pirate station, which played Caribbean music, was infringing on their business.

Licenses to broadcast in New York can cost millions of dollars and are regulated by the FCC.

Jason Finkelberg, the general manager of WSPK-FM, or K104.7, one of the top 40 radio stations in New York, claimed that Bruce and Malka were illegally broadcasting on his radio frequency. 

“People are driving and, all of a sudden, they run into a Caribbean station,” Finkelberg told the New York Times, adding that, even with the arrests, he would not be surprised if another Caribbean pirate radio station takes their place.(CMC) Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)