- August 8, 2017 at 4:41 pm #175850
In Norwood, Massachusetts, I haven’t yet been able to get WJIB’s translator.
Depending on how the antenna of my best FM radio is aimed (I do n’t have an FM receiver hooked-up to an outdoor antenna), I can get either WMRC-1490’s translator or the pirate Big City FM on 101.3.
Once Big City is raided and shut down, perhaps I might be able to get WJIB’s FM translator.August 8, 2017 at 7:07 pm #175860
Driving on rte 1 from 128/95 to Neponset Street, The Milford signal was strongest, with the pirate fading as I went south. WJIB was quite weak and fluttered in here and there.August 9, 2017 at 6:27 am #175865
According to list of FM // applications, Bittner’s WJTO Bath ME wants 105.3 to replace the one they had that moved to Cambridge. And WNBP wants 92.1–does this mean they plan to shut off 106.1?August 9, 2017 at 3:00 pm #175870
Bob Bitner instructs the public how to complain to the FCC about the Dorchester pirate
WJIB, AM-740 in Cambridge has legally applied for and received a Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) grant to broadcast the same AM signal on FM radio at 101.3. And it began on August 4,
2017 from atop WJIB’s AM radio tower on Concord Avenue, Cambridge. However, an estimated 70% of
people in WJIB’s FM coverage area will not be able to hear WJIB’s FM station due to the fact that there is a
station calling itself “Big City Radio”, operating very illegally on the same 101.3 frequency from a churchowned
building on Blue Hill Avenue in Dorchester, across from Franklin Park, a building from which several
pirate stations have transmitted from. More on pirates below, but now let’s look at…
Cities and towns where WJIB should be able to be heard on FM 101.3: (without pirate interference):
Boston, Cambridge, Waltham, Newton, Belmont, Watertown, Medford, Somerville, Chelsea, Revere, Everett,
Winthrop, Revere, Melrose, Saugus, Lynn, Nahant, Swampscott, Peabody, Salem, Brookline, Milton, Dedham,
Quincy, Weymouth, Hingham, Hull.
Cities and towns where reception will be spotty, depending upon where you are: Weston, Wellesley,
Needham, Westwood, Canton, Randolph, Cohasset, Lincoln, Arlington, Lexington, Woburn, Winchester,
Wakefield, Reading, Wilmington, Billerica, Reading, Danvers, Lynnfield, Marblehead, Beverly. WJIB’s FM
signal is “directional” meaning that it doesn’t go the same distance in all directions. It is suppressed to the
North-NorthWest, and to the SouthWest to a lesser extent, in order to protect other stations who were there first.
So, who is supposed to shut down illegal pirate stations? It’s the FCC. And they have successfully done
so to many of these stations across the country. But in the past two decades, it has become harder and harder to
do because of the ever-increasing number of pirates. In New York City, there are over 100 known pirates. In
Miami, almost as many. And in eastern Mass, from Lowell-Lawrence-Haverhill, thru Boston and to Brockton,
there are 20 to 30. Two of these are operating at quite high power, higher than such authorized for WJIB’s FM
station. And one of them (Big City) is right on WJIB’s dial location, 101.3. The other is on 87.7.
On July 13, 2017, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau sent a letter to the female morning host on Big City
informing her that the station she was on is an illegal operation violating federal laws, and that continued
operation of it could result in equipment confiscation, substantial fines and imprisonment. Shortly afterwards,
she announced on air that “this is my last show” and then fled the station. The letter also demanded that “the
operation of this radio station must be discontinued immediately”. The ownership of Big City has been known
to be defiant of FCC laws, and continues to operate; apparently believing that the FCC will do nothing further.
An FCC agent measured the strength of the Big City pirate signal and found it to be about one thousand-times
stronger than allowed by law. (FCC laws DO say that one can broadcast at the equivalent of 1/10th of one watt
without a license; a power level that would send a signal to just one or two city blocks.)
Meanwhile, the FCC in Washington, DC has been acknowledging this nationwide pirate problem, and
vows to be much more aggressive in shutting them down, and using all laws at their disposal. This situation is
getting very high priority right now, likely due to legitimate broadcasters in a joint organized effort to bring this
problem to the FCC, and also pirate broadcasters, having been known to use inappropriate transmitters and
wiring, which can interfere also with airplane-to-control-tower communications, and local emergency
communications. Pirate broadcasters are also known to not pay any music licensing fees to ASCAP, BMI, etc,
nor pay FCC Regulatory Fees, and to not have Emergency Alert System equipment to alert its listeners of any
national or local emergency situations. (all of which are also violations of federal laws).
Pirate broadcasters are almost always minority groups, and most of them loudly say that radio does not
represent the minority communities well. In many cities, that is true, or partially true. Boston is included here,
as African-American radio has a recent irregular record. Boston lost a great African-American owned station a
decade ago, with the demise of AM 1090, WILD. The licensee of the 1090 AM channel has been renting it to,
and now is selling it to a west coast group, who programs full-time news and information from the Chinese
government, mostly in English. This left open inspiration of local Boston pirates. This year, however, there’s
WZBR at 1410 on the AM dial which is almost entirely African-American programming, broadcasting from the
Milton-Boston line. Additionally last year, the FCC allowed applications from non-profit organizations for new
low-powered FM stations nationwide. Several applications were submitted in the Boston area for the scare
space left on the FM dial. One was an African-American religious group that legally obtained 102.9, along with
the youth-teaching group “Zumix” in East Boston which also was awarded 102.9, in a shared station situation.
The folks at “Big City” could have applied for a dial-location too, by forming a non-profit organization
fostering African-American heritage and music preservation, but instead they chose the easier route, the illegal
Pirate Radio is the crabgrass in the lawn on radio, and structure of the airwaves must be maintained.
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO HELP SPEED THE ENFORCEMENT PROCESS ALONG, please fill out
a Consumer Complaint Form at the FCC’s website.
1) – Go to fcc.gov
2) –click on “for Consumers” in the top right area.
3) –click on “Consumer Complaint Center”
4) –click on “Radio”
5) –then fill out the form. Tell them that “Big City 101.3” is greatly interfering with WJIB’s
“W267CE” (the official callsign of WJIB’s FM station).
6) –within that form is a drop-down menu where you are to click on “Pirates/Unauthorized Operations”August 9, 2017 at 5:34 pm #175874
I’ve done my part.
I just (5:30 P.M. EDT August 9th) filed my complaint online, and a rather blunt complaint at that, calling “Big City FM” illegal and urging the FCC to raid their studios as soon as possible and confiscate their equipment!August 9, 2017 at 6:38 pm #175876August 10, 2017 at 8:34 pm #175889
Big City is still loud and clear(8/10) from Braintree split to entrance to ONeil tunnel on 93. JIB is on after leaving tunnel on Zakim om 93. FCC had to confiscate Big City’s transmitter.
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