[ISN] WBAB offers $10K reward for radio hijacker

From: InfoSec News (isn@private)
Date: Fri May 19 2006 - 00:16:34 PDT


Newsday Staff Writer
May 19, 2006

WBAB radio executives asked the Federal Communications Commission
Thursday to investigate who hijacked their radio signal and broadcast
racial slurs, and offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to
an arrest.

The station said it was immediately implementing steps to prevent
another hijacking after it lost control of its broadcast Monday at
7:10 a.m. for a couple of minutes and the hacker transmitted a country
and western-style song attacking blacks.

"This was not a child's prank. This was a federal offense," station
programmer John Olsen said at a news conference. "Clearly someone has
a bone to pick with WBAB."

The station at 102.3 FM on the radio dial was rocked by controversy
last week after the hosts of the popular Roger and JP morning show,
Roger Luce and John Parise, played a fake commercial that contained
ethnic slurs targeting the Latino community.

At the news conference Thursday, Luce and Parise urged anyone with
information on the hacker to come forward. Parise suggested checking
Long Island and New York City radio message boards.

"The technical types tend to be the ones that chime in on those
message boards," he said.

John Shea, the station's general manager, said the hacker used an
illegal transmitter and a small antenna to intercept the high
frequency microwave signal the station sends between its studios in
Babylon and its transmitting tower 6 miles away in Dix Hills.

Luce said that when a Pink Floyd song was replaced suddenly by static
Monday morning, he initially thought it might have been the weather
playing havoc. Then, when the country and western-style song came on,
he thought a Rhode Island station might have been overlapping with

When he heard the song's lyrics, he said he knew they'd been hijacked.  
He and Parise tried to turn off the transmitter, but couldn't because
the hacker had taken over the signal, Shea said. The station regained
control when the hacker cut out.

"I've been in this business 26 years," Shea said, "and it's the first
time I've seen it."

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