Earlier this week, the FCC, working with local law enforcement, shut down local “pirate” radio station CTY-Radio, broadcasting on 89.7 FM. Operator Rian Hayes, 29, was taken into custody and will be arraigned this Friday on federal charges including unlicensed operation, inadvertent interference and possession of illegal transmission equipment.
“The capture of Mr Hayes is the result of a nine-month investigation,” stated FCC spokesperson Angela Moriarty. “We hope this sends a message to the pirate radio community in this area: you will no longer use the public airwaves without sanction.”
Pirate radio has a storied history in the city, beginning with Leonard “Lenny” Hart’s unauthorized rebroadcast of Jack Benny’s radio program in 1974. The phenomenon is widely regarded as having peaked with FM92 in the early 80s, where 93.9 personality Jamdog got his start.
CTY-Radio was popular for its focus on ethnocentric programming, including regular segments devoted to afrobeat, free jazz, and even Jewish songs. While Hayes acted as the primary operator of the station under the nom de broadcast Hallelujah Jones, other featured on-air talents used monikers like Sacred Skull, Minus Nine, and The Countess.
“I’m confident that we can work with the FCC and the city to reduce penalties against Mr. Hayes,” stated Hayes’ attorney, Davis Persons. “Nobody was harmed by his actions, and the community’s support for his efforts has been noted.”
- Kevin Church
(Check out an interview with Mr. Church on The City Desk’s Facebook group)