Friday, August 2, 2013

FL Radio: Pirate Dies Installing Antenna

Jean Adelphonse
Jean Adelphonse ran numerous businesses from a tiny office at a shopping strip, including a traffic school, tax preparation store and immigration firm.

But, according to,  the entrepreneur's latest venture — a pirate radio station, situated in the same building where his other businesses are — got him killed, the Broward Sheriff's Office says.

Adelphonse, 42, was electrocuted in Oakland Park, FL on Monday night when part of the pirate radio antenna he was installing above his business office collapsed and struck a powerline, the agency said.

The illegal station would've been the latest one in South Florida, where federal and local officials have been busy in recent years trying to shut them down only to see more jamming the public airways with cheaper broadcasting equipment.

"More and more people are trying to find ways to make money on the side, and they don't have the experience of handling these antennas," said Broward sheriff's Detective Valerian Perez.  Perez adds he suspects the proliferation of pirate stations will continue to multiply as the costs of setting one up has become cheaper and with equipment becoming more easily available on the Internet.

Local, state and federal officials say South Florida has long been considered a hotbed for pirate radio stations. Since January 2012, the Federal Communications Commission has filed legal actions against 50 pirate stations throughout the United States. Of those, 31 were located in South Florida's tri-county area, according to the agency's database.

Chris Jacques, 27, of Boca Raton, who runs the licensed station Radio Haiti Amerique International on WHSR 980 AM Radio in Boca Raton, downplayed the notion that the illegal stations are filling a gap of Creole and Caribbean programming.

Jacques said his operation can cost up to $15,000 a week, and the pirates are just looking to make easy money from advertisers looking for cheaper rates.

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