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28340: Hermantin(News)Music stops for a pirate radio station; 2 held (fwd)

From: leonie hermantin <lhermantin@hotmail.com>

Posted on Sat, Apr. 22, 2006

Music stops for a pirate radio station; 2 held
State officials have shut down a pirate radio station operating out of Fort Lauderdale.

For months, Creole and Caribbean music had flowed from a pirate radio station stashed behind a Fort Lauderdale music store.

On Friday, the beat stopped flowing from the station, Sak Pase Compas, after agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement shut it down -- making it the seventh pirate station FDLE has dismantled in about a year.

Junior K. Pierre, of Fort Lauderdale, and Willem Michel, of Lauderhill, were arrested and charged with operating an unlicensed radio station, said FDLE spokeswoman Paige Patterson-Hughes.

Both were being held in the Broward County Main Jail Friday night.

Officers seized the station's radio equipment, including a transmitter, mixing board, CD's and microphones, she said.

Such stations are considered hazardous because they interfere with legal broadcasts. A public safety message broadcasted on licensed stations could go unheard because pirate stations block the signal, Patterson-Hughes said.

''Especially when dealing with a public safety issue, and having a station is not licensed, that is a potential problem,'' Patterson-Hughes said.

FDLE recently confiscated pirate radio equipment in Opa-locka after after airline pilots complained it interrupted their transmissions.

Florida anti-piracy law went into effect last summer, making interfering with signals from licensed public or commercial stations, or broadcasting without a license, a third-degree felony.

That gave FDLE the power to aggressively go after pirate radio stations. Since then, agents have shut down several illegal radio stations.

The Fort Lauderdale case began in March with a complaint from the Federal Communications Commission that was forwarded to FDLE, Patterson-Hughes said. The FCC regulates radio stations.

FDLE investigated, and agents arrested the two men Friday.

One was arrested inside the station, Patterson-Hughes said. The second man was arrested in his car after leaving a neighboring business, she said.