(en) Pirates busted in Tampa

Saul Chernos (schernos@freenet.toronto.on.ca)
Thu, 20 Nov 1997 09:02:55 -0500 (EST)

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Information from a Tampa, Florida source Saul Chernos schernos@torfree.net

The FCC has made sweeping raids in the Tampa area, busting three prominent pirates here:

87-X on 87.9, Patriot Radio 0n 96.7 and the Party Pirate 102.1.

102.1 operator Doug Brewer told a journalist that:

Federal Marshalls and the FCC came to his door at about 6:30 or 7am, gained entry to his residence and cuffed him, then said they had a warrant or somesuch to take his equipment. Then, a Ryder truck pulled up front, and they cleaned out the station, located in the his home's garage. All told, the Feds got away with over $50 K worth of stuff, including, so Brewer says, items that are "his presonal property and the property of others...including a sound recording studio which had NOTHING to do with the radio station."

Perhaps even more disturbing: They also dismantled his 150-foot tower. Perhaps they reasoned: Leave the tower up, and he will go back on the air. However, what the FCC didn't realize is that the tower was licensed and LEGAL, with several public service agencies and a HAM repeater using space.

The U.S. Attorney for Florida's Middle District in Tampa says in a press release, "Leslie D. Brewer, 43 of Tampa, allegedly operated an unlicensed radio station..." and faces civil actions. Brewer tells me he's called his attorney and so far as the Party Pirate's concerned, "Stay tuned."

Another station, Patriot Radio on 96.7 in Lutz (a few miles from Tampa), is also silent; the operator, 53 year old Arthur Kobres of Lutz, is, according to the Department of Justice, "Charged in a fourteen count indictment with operating a radio station without a license, in violation of Title 47, United States Code, Sections 301 and 501...maximum penalty is two years imprisonment and a fine up to $250,000."

Finally, 87-X on 87.9, in the Sulphir Springs area of Tampa, is also silent, with charges pending against 22 year old Kelly Benjamin, known as "Kelly Combat" on the air.

Other pirates, ironically all Spanish-language; on 89.3, 90.1 and 106.1 remain on the air and full strength as of this writing.

I don't know anything more than this, provided by a source down in Tampa. If anyone wants to know more, please look up the station operators in the white pages. I don't know if they were political pirates, either, or if they were on-air simply because it's fun.

Saul Chernos Toronto Canada

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