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December 12, 2016 4:11 pm

Brooklyn Listeners Complain of Hijacking of Classical Radio Station by Pirate Broadcaster of Torah Sermons

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

A Torah scroll. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

An illegal broadcaster is still filling the airwaves with Torah teachings, despite having been reported to authorities for hijacking New York’s only classical radio station to deliver the religious sermons, the New York Post reported on Sunday.

According to the report, the hacked station, WQXR (105.9 FM), recently reported the pirate program — broadcast on an extremely close frequency (105.7 FM) — to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), after receiving complaints from listeners. But the religious lectures are still blaring on-air in the Kensington, Windsor Terrace and Park Slope sections of Brooklyn.

Listener Patrick Russell, 65, said the illicit station broadcasts nightly, between approximately 6 p.m. and 8 a.m., and mostly features a man “yelling and lecturing about the Torah” in both English and Hebrew. “It’s my favorite radio station and I can’t even listen to it anymore,” Russell said. “It’s gotten so bad. I like classical music to wake me up in the morning nicely. I don’t want somebody screaming at me. Same for when I’m going to bed.”

Kensington resident Julie Semkow, 73, also expressed dismay. “The override has been driving me crazy,” she told the Post. “I wish I had my favorite station back.”

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Meanwhile, fellow listener Jayjayel Whycee said that other frequencies are also being hijacked.

A spokesperson for the FCC confirmed that “there is no licensed operation on [105.7] in New York City,” and the identity of the broadcaster is still unknown.

There are about 100 pirate stations operating illegally throughout New York’s five boroughs, a 58 percent rise from last year, according to New York State Broadcaster’s Association President David Donovan. He said the illegal stations “pose a direct danger” to human safety, because they interfere with the Emergency Alert System and airplane frequencies, and violate FCC regulations.

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