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Local Stations Hopeful for Pirate Radio Crackdown

Pirate radio stations have occasionally hacked into 107.1 The Peak's frequency over the years, but a bill introduced by New York State Assemblyman George Latimer may deter stations broadcasting without a license by increasing penalties.

"I, on a number of occasions, have run into reasonably powerful pirates on my frequency 107.1," said Chris Herrmann, program director and on-air personality for WXPK, which uses a sound stage on W. Boston Post Road for its Peak Performance series. "I think just having somebody to have the FCC's back is fantastic."

The Assembly bill passed both houses in the New York State Senate, but still requires the signature of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, said Latimer. He said he expects the governor to sign the bill sometime in July.

Latimer introduced this legislation around five years ago after speaking with William O'Shaughnessy, president of WVOX, which is a Class A radio station like WXPK.

"WVOX is a small radio station," Latimer said. "Their power is such that at certain times of day, usually at night, they can have their signal blocked out by one of these pirates."

Those broadcasting pirate radio stations are home grown but have enough equipment to send out a radio signal, which can eat into the existing spectrum set up by the FCC, Latimer said.

"Class A radio stations, like us and WVOX, are more affected than the big class B radio stations coming off the Empire State Building," Herrmann said. "And it doesn't have to be on our channel. If somebody is on the first adjacent channel on 106.9 of 107.3, they can also rip us up pretty good. On a hot summer night in the Bronx, with a bunch of pirates going away, it could really be cash out of our signal."

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