How a New Jersey Radio Station dealt with Interfering Pirate

An April 12 photo provided by Linden police shows the antenna on top of an E. Baltimore Avenue home out of which an illegal radio station was reportedly operating.



April 20, 2015

As previously reported by Radio Ink, Trenton’s WKXW-FM, best known as talk station New Jersey 101.5, had its signal interfered with by a pirate radio station on 101.3. The station conducted its own investigation to track where the illegal transmission was coming from. That information was then given to the local police who quickly shut the pirate station down. How did the station find the pirate? What caused them to be so proactive in going after him? Radio Ink talked with WKWX-FM’s President and Chief Revenue Officer Fred Bennett and the station’s Brand Manager Eric “EJ” Johnson to get the answers…

The radio interference began less than two weeks back, as listeners began to call in and email asking why they were having trouble hearing the station all of a sudden. It wasn’t just one or two complaints, but at least 50 came in, all from an area to the northeast of the station. It became quickly clear that an illegal station had popped up and was ruining WKXW’s signal for many listeners. The pirate station was playing some type of foreign language talk programming — possibly Haitian — that was breaking into WKXW’s English-language talk programming.

The station contacted the FCC who did tell the station that pirating was an extremely big issue to them, especially in the northeastern part of New Jersey and into New York. (That area, along with the Miami area, seems to have the biggest problem with pirate radio stations.) The FCC also informed WKXW what their process for going after pirates was and said they would check into this particular situation.

Unfortunately for WKXW, that process is not always a fast one. In the meantime, the complaints about the station’s signal kept flowing in. The station then chose to take it upon itself to try and find the pirate station and conducted its own investigation.

Bennett said: “This is really the kind of proactive approach that Townsquare Media has. It’s really the spirit of our company.”

“We get that the FCC says it could be an extended process. No disrespect to them. We love the FCC — they grant us our license,” Bennett added. “However, we need to be proactive and go do something about this. You know how it is, you tune into a station that’s not there, you may never go back… So, we know how important that is. It’s a really densely populated area and we want to be able to serve the community with the great content that we offer.”

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  1. I haven’t listened to that station in many years … not sure if they even still stream … but I remember it as one of the most unique radio stations I’d ever heard at the tale end of the ’90s. A combination of talk programming by day, and oldies on overnights and weekends with 24-hour full service elements such as news and traffic. They even had a time chime a la the old WABC New York!


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