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FCC Turns Off Pirate Radio Station on Ship

July 28, 1987|From Times Wire Services

LONG BEACH, N.Y. — Federal agents today boarded a floating pirate radio station anchored off Long Island, N.Y., seized the vessel and arrested three people on board after the station broadcast for four days over the objections of the Federal Communications Commission.

The Coast Guard cutter Cape Horn carried at least one FCC agent out to the rusty freighter anchored off suburban Long Beach, where it was boarded without incident.

"The original plan was to seize the vessel and take it to Staten Island," Coast Guard spokesman Joe Gibson said, "but we could not get the anchor raised."

One of the disc jockeys aboard said today the ship was being held in place with an anchor so large that the vessel did not have a winch strong enough to raise it.

One Released

One of the three people arrested was later released when he identified himself as a reporter, said Assistant U.S. Atty. Matthew Fishbein.

The two others, chief engineer Allan Weiner of Presque Isle, Me., and volunteer Ivan Rothstein of New York, were charged with violation of the International Telecommunications Convention, a treaty barring unauthorized shipboard broadcasts from outside territorial limits, Fishbein said.

The pair were to be arraigned later in Brooklyn. The violation is a misdemeanor punishable by fines of $500 for each day of the illegal broadcasts, he said. The crime carries no imprisonment.

The crew on the vessel had vowed they would resist attempts to stop the outlaw broadcasts, but they gave up without a struggle.

"I'm flabbergasted," Randi Steele, the station's operations manager, said from his Brooklyn, N.Y., apartment. "The FCC never has been given congressional power of arrest. This is an illegal action on the high seas."

Steele has said the station was inspired by what he called the low quality of New York rock 'n' roll radio and the FCC's heavy-handed attitude toward those who want to get licenses.

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