A decision by communications watchdogs to ban broadcasts of a French radio station from the airwaves has provoked stinging criticism from listeners.
Throughout the last decade Paris-based FIP radio has attracted a massive cult following in Brighton after a fan grew so smitten with the station he set up an antenna in his Hanover home to broadcast it to the city.
Listeners were attracted to its quirky music and lack of chat and adverts.
But last week The Argus revealed that following a complaint from an unknown source the Office of Communications (Ofcom) raided the property and seized the equipment being used to transmit FIP.
The move has led to fierce criticism from fans and the suggestion that a fund could now be set up to fight any legal action Ofcom might pursue.
Messages posted on The Argus website included one from Steve, of Seven Dials, Brighton, who said: “I love(d) FIP but only discovered it around a year ago.
“How about a whip round to pay towards any costs the diamond geezer from Hanover gets lumbered with?”
DC, from Hove, said: “We will miss it very much – the perfect driving to’ or falling asleep to’ radio station.
“We hope that it returns very soon.”
Zoe, from Brighton, said: “I’m really disappointed FIP has been taken off the airwaves.
“I don’t know why someone complained but it wasn’t doing anyone any harm and is enjoyed by thousands of people. I find it mean spirited.
“I hope it’s back soon.”
Ofcom’s decision to ban FIP in Brighton has also caused others to ask why British radio stations seem unable to produce a station with similar output.
Terry, from Brighton, said: “FIP has done what UK radio, nationally and locally, seems unable to – showed it is possible to mix musical genres and get away from ghettoising listeners into urban’ versus pop or versus oldie’.”
Ian, from Brighton, said: “Ofcom, you have a lot to answer for – not for raiding the rebroadcasters but for permitting British airwaves to be filled with mindless pap.”
However the decision to take FIP off the air was welcomed by some who claimed pirate radio harms other stations.
Liam, from Brighton, said: “All pirate radio harms someone. A lot of people’s livelihoods depend on licensed broadcasting.
“Want to hear a French radio station? Use the internet.”
Ofcom refused to comment on whether legal proceedings would start against the man who set up the antenna.
Sources close to the mysterious man behinf FIP’s broadcasts in Brighton told The Argus he hoped the station would be back up and running soon and that the case could be resolved amicably.
Listeners can still tune into FIP via the internet at www.radiofrance.fr/chaines/fip/endirect