Linden shuts ‘pirate’ radio station on East Baltimore Avenue

On April 15, 2015, the house at 406 E. Baltimore Ave. minus the antenna on the roof.
On April 15, 2015, the house at 406 E. Baltimore Ave. minus the antenna on the roof.
Pirate radio station antenna on roof of house at 406 E. Baltimore Ave. on April 12, 2015.
Pirate radio station antenna on roof of house at 406 E. Baltimore Ave. on April 12, 2015.

LINDEN — On April 13, the Linden Police Department received a complaint from New Jersey 101.5 FM radio of a ‘pirate radio station operating in the city. The station manager told police in a letter that the station conducted its own investigation and determined the source of the illegal radio transmission was coming from a residence at 406 E. Baltimore Ave.

The letter contained pictures of a large antenna on the roof and said it had received numerous complaints from listeners about bad reception on its station, especially in the Union County areas of Linden and Elizabeth, since the ‘pirate’ station was operating on the 101.3 FM frequency.

Linden authorities contacted the FCC who also had been contacted by the New Jersey radio station. An agent told police that an investigation could take up to two weeks.

New Jersey is one of only two states in the country where ‘pirate’ radio station operations are a criminal act, specifically a fourth degree crime, if they are operating at a certain power output without a license, and also a separate offense if their unlicensed broadcast interferes with a legally licensed station. The other state is Florida.

Linden Police contacted local code enforcement officials who advised that the residence was actually in violation of zoning ordinances for operating a business within a residential area and having an illegal structure on the roof —the radio antenna — which climbed over 20 feet above the roof.

The owner of the residence, whose name is not available, was notified of the complaint and advised to cease operation of the station and remove the antenna from the roof, or face several summonses and fines.

On April 15, the station was notified that the antenna had been removed from the roof of the house and the reception of their station had consequently improved.

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