Thursday, November 03, 2005


Ofcom have been busy little bees and wasps, running round closing down 44 pirate radio stations in London in a series of raids.

Now, we know the arguments against pirate radio, and today the fire brigade and the National Air Traffic Control service have popped up to say how awful it is trying to stop planes crashing into the soft heads of children or houses burning down when pirate radio cuts in:

"Pirate radio transmissions interfere with, and sometimes entirely disable, the communications systems the London Fire Brigade relies on.

"The interference makes it more difficult for the fire fighters to go about their daily business of protecting Londoners."

And a Nats spokesman said: "Unauthorised broadcasts on or close to frequencies used by air traffic controllers can interfere with the passing of vital information between air traffic controllers and pilots."

We find this slightly puzzling, though: since pirate radio is aimed at, well, people's FM radio sets, which generally stretch from 87.5MHz to 108.0, how are these services interfering with the National Air Traffic Services up at 117.975MHz, or the fire service which broadcasts down at 70.5MHz? (I suppose there's something technical we're missing, but if there's a glitch which means Radio Kit comes through a fire bobby's radio, how come you don't get the Archers being constantly interrupted by pilots on the way into Luton?)

Anyway, everyone's very happy and the raids found guns and drugs, and nobody's even going to ask if a better way to stop people broadcasting illegally would be to find a way to ensure their audiences find what they want to hear on the proper radio.


Paul said...

Because pirates are unregulated ans use cheap transmitters, the signals tend to shoot out all over the FM band, including many frequencies that the emergency services use. So there is a lot of truth in what they are saying.

I'd be happy if EVERY pirate in East London was eliminated - ego-trippers, showboaters, people who care more about their own cool than the music they're playing. If people want to get their unique blend of music on the airwaves they can always go out and get a community radio licence, or start broadcasting on the internet!

Or do we need pirate radio on FM, if only to allow club owners to launder cash!

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