The Q at Parkside

(for those for whom the Parkside Q is their hometrain)

News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Radio Free Flatbush

If you're new here (or a longtimer looking for the "delightful" Garrison Keillor at WNYC on your "wireless" and wondering when the old man became so taken with low low bass and air horns) you may be wondering about Pirate Radio and how that works. In fact, the Q's been amusedly amazed by the sheer number and variety of pirate radio stations working up and down the dial - all emanating from a few blocks away. Flatbush might just be the most pirate-heavy airspace in all the USA. These ephemeral stations might come in for a minute, then they're gone, or they might linger for days or weeks. They're either louder than everything else on the spectrum or painfully hard to tune. Sometimes DJs or ministers are screaming in Haitian Creole; sometimes it's a Jamaican lilt (holy cow! the nicknames! the slang! sheer genius!) And sometimes, it's just plain annoying, and you want to tear what's left of your hair out. Welcome to the 'Bush, circa right now.

The craziest part is how these stations end up all over the dial, from one end to the other, and they move! Apparently, all you need is a couple hundred bucks of gear and you're good to go. And even though it's way illegal, you might develop enough of a following to create your own brand, like VYBZ radio has.

If you want to learn more, I suggest checking out this article in the Brooklyn Bureau, of City Limits magazine. There's an interesting piece this week also about the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership's role shaping that nether-region between B-Heights, Dumbo, and Ft. Greene (at one point, I lobbied to call the area TimeTown, for the giant clock at One Hanson Place. It didn't stick, thankfully).

And if you want to hear one of these pirate stations at maximum volume, you could always pay your two dollars for a ride on the Dollar Van...just wait for the one that's blasting air horns and hop on in. Heck, they might even be broadcasting from the passenger seat for all you know.

Aaaaargh, mateys!


Rudy on Winthrop said...

This is a public plea to whoever is broadcasting, in Creole, at 90.9FM, possibly from 55 Winthrop Street, every Sunday night, from 7pm onward.

Please, and FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!, choose a frequency that doesn't interfere with WFMU.

Thank you, from your otherwise mild-mannered freeform radio fan across the street.

Gary of PLG said...

I support free speech and local voices if done using media that doesn't victimize local ears and listeners. The Internet supports thousands of radio stations without crushing anyone's pleasure.

So far these pirates haven't taken hostages, but they have broken into my radio - send out the Marines.

Anonymous said...

I have been wondering why WNYC has been hard to tune lately...