From THESTREET.COM: I began hearing the buzz about two weeks ago.
People were talking about a new radio station here in New York City. It's playing dance music and it sounds great.
I asked "where is it on the dial?" and I was told 87.7.
87.7 MHz? That's not on the FM dial. Officially, in the U.S., FM starts at 87.9 MHz. We actually have a radio station in town on that frequency, WBAR, the voice of Barnard College. Sometimes WBAR is on the air, sometimes it's not.
But back to 87.7.
It sounded great, but -- as far as I knew -- that frequency was officially a television station signal for Channel 6. The nearest TV stations broadcasting on that channel are in Philadelphia and Providence, R.I.
Was this dance station running a pirate operation?
I contacted the experts at the Federal Communications Commission. They should know -- they license radio stations. A few days later, they sent me back a Web link that said I was listening to the audio output of a legally licensed, low-power TV station in this area.Now it was time to talk to the people running the station. MegaMedia Group's (MMDA) CEO Alex Shvarts set me straight.
The station, known as Pulse 87, is officially licensed by the FCC. Its real call letters are WNYZ and it is licensed as a low-power television station licensed for the immediate New York City area.
Since low-power stations are legally allowed to broadcast separate audio and video signals, MegaMedia used the audio portion of the Channel 6 signal first to air Russian-language programming -- and now nonstop dance music 24 hours a day.
Their studios are on Coney Island Avenue in Brooklyn, and the broadcast antenna is in Long Island City.
The really clever twist here is that since Channel 6 is right below the official FM dial, WNYZ's audio, being broadcast on 87.7 is also right below the FM dial. So, legally, these guys can broadcast their radio station, which can be picked up by most listeners in New York City on nearly every FM radio in existence.