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United Kingdom: London could save “up to” £1m by smashing pirate radio

Cold War Radios

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The United Kingdom’s broadcast regulator says Londoners could save “up to” £1 million by cracking down on that city’s remaining pirate radio stations. As we’ve noted earlier, Ofcom has pretty much gone medieval on unlicensed radio of late, smashing and grabbing at least 400 stations, mostly in two London boroughs.

“Pirate stations typically use high-rise buildings for their broadcasts, with illegal transmitters installed on rooftops or hidden in lift shafts,” Ofcom says. “This damages residential properties owned by local authorities, disrupting residents’ lives and putting people at risk from falling equipment.” Plus pirate radio signals interfere with emergency services.

I’m not seeing any mention of a transmitter falling on somebody’s head in the press release, but apparently Ofcom is working with a group called Homes for Haringey (a London borough). Homes charges that various pirate operations have delayed key construction projects.

To wit from a Homes 2013 Board of Directors document:

“The delays to the Decent Homes Programme are a result of the following: • late start to programme due to delays in decision making on the specification of some schemes and inclusion of additional programmes such as the scattered properties programme • Pirate radio aerials have affected the progress of the completion of external works on some schemes • Inclement weather.”

and

“Mechanical & Electrical Works (£315,000 underspend) – due to delays as a result of pirate radio activity preventing the start on site on the communal ventilation project, also slippage to the IRS retro fit project due to resource in preparing the tender documents and the award of contract.”

I’m also not clear how these delays add up to “up to” a million pounds, but I presume somebody is trying to crunch the numbers at Ofcom’s pirate radio summit, being held this week.


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