Radio veteran speaks up for pirate stations are doing good not harm

PUBLISHED: 13:13 07 September 2006 | UPDATED: 10:48 06 May 2010

A MAN who has run a pirate radio station for the past 18 years has hit out at suggestions violence and drugs are rife in his industry. Dominic De-Layne contacted The Comet to try and change the perception of illegal stations. He has been running a statio

A MAN who has run a pirate radio station for the past 18 years has hit out at suggestions violence and drugs are rife in his industry.

Dominic De-Layne contacted The Comet to try and change the perception of illegal stations.

He has been running a station, which he wouldn't name, for nearly twenty years in Stevenage and has never had to resort to violence.

Last week we reported Ofcom's concerns after a number of pirate radio transmitters appeared throughout Stevenage.

The watchdog is concerned with the increase in aerials because it says there is a direct link between illegal broadcasting and serious crime.

But Dominic said this is not the case: "There is a stigma against pirate radio stations - thinking we are all thugs and doing drugs.

"In London there may be a bit of violence but more towards rival stations rather than towards people or Ofcom.

"In any business which has connections with music or clubs there is a certain amount of jostling for position.

"There is not a lot of violence, in fact there is a certain amount of camaraderie."

The transmitters found in the town are not his as he is currently taking a break from his station - although he plans to start back up at Christmas.

He said he only puts aerials on buildings which are hidden and safe.

Ofcom warned many transmitters are booby-trapped with blades and connected up to the mains electricity - to cause an electric shock to anyone who touches it.

But Dominic, who lives in Stevenage, said he has never used booby-traps and the stations that do only do so to protect their property from being stolen.

He said it was easy to get into buildings such as Brent Court or Southgate House - just by being smartly dressed. He said the transmitters can fold up into a case.

He told The Comet: "I have never had any complaints. We have no association with drugs.

"We do a lot for the community and have a good following.

"I have tried to set up legally, I had a business plan but you have to have half a million pounds in your pocket before you even start.

"I am personally not doing any harm and I don't think the majority of pirate stations are. Some of our best DJs started off on pirate radio stations."

According to Ofcom large illegal radio stations can generate up to £5,000-a-week in cash.

Dominic said: "I make money out of it but I really enjoy doing it I have tried to start up legally - it's not through lack of trying."

He says Ofcom will never stop pirate radio stations, in fact, he predicts more popping up in the future.

He said: "We have been going a long time. We entertain people and do no harm but we do not have a licence."

Clayton Hirst, spokesman for Ofcom, said if Dominic is broadcasting without a licence then this illegal activity is potentially causing serious interference to the communications systems used by emergency services.

He said: "Pirate radio is illegal for a good reason. Ofcom receives numerous calls from, for example, the fire brigade and air traffic control reporting cases of radio interference from these broadcasters.

"Dominic claims that the aerials he uses are 'safe'. This is simply not true. Dominic also dismisses the link between pirate radio and other crimes. However, Ofcom raids on studios used by illegal broadcasters have in the past uncovered weapons and drugs.

"There have also been cases of illegal broadcasters threatening and assaulting neighbours and local authority staff to obtain access to rooftops for transmitter sites and flats for studio locations.

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