The man behind French radio station broadcasts that won a cult following in Sussex has rubbished claims he was damaging the airwaves or putting lives at risk.
Until recently, Paris-based FIP Radio was broadcast in Brighton by a fan who grew so smitten with the quirky station he set up an antenna at his Seven Dials home.
But after a complaint earlier this year, the FIP shows fell foul of Ofcom, the broadcasting regulator, which confiscated the equipment.
Writing in The Argus, Paul Mercer, from Ofcom, said the broadcasts were causing “serious interference” on the airwaves, possibly disrupting communications used by the fire service and “drowning out” other radio stations.
He said: “It is for these reasons Ofcom takes firm action against people involved with this criminal activity.”
The man who ran FIP in Brighton, who refuses to be named, conceded the broadcasts were unlicensed but denied he was cluttering the airwaves.
He said: “Mr Mercer’s assertions may well be the case in other instances but not on this occasion.
“The transmission equipment was tested and maintained to better standards than required by Ofcom, especially in terms of spectral occupancy and spurious emissions, unlike most unlicensed operations.
“The transmitted power was very low, under ten watts, less than most stations, and was not interfering with anything.
“The broadcasts were on frequencies that are known channels of interference from powerful transmitters on the French coast and, therefore, are sterile’ frequencies along this part of the coast. There was no chance of them drowning out anything.”
A website – lovefip.freehostia.com – is now online. It gives background on the campaign to get FIP back on the air and links to internet shows.
The Argus visited FIP in Paris yesterday and will publish a feature on the station over the next week.