Jim Nazium and Hank Hayes of the Hank and Jim Radio Network were pursued several times by the FCC for operating a radio show without a license. The two DJs started putting out shows illegally on AM frequencies from a Brooklyn studio way back in 1975. Recently, however, they have moved onto an Internet site.
According to BrooklynInk.com, while their broadcasting medium has changed, Hayes and Nazium’s show remains popular. Since they started the Hank and Jim Radio Network, the pair of DJs have drawn more than 12.5 million viewers around the world, according to the viewer count on their page at Stickam.com. This number demonstrates an exponential change from the DJs’ early pirate days, when listeners in distant boroughs couldn’t hear Hayes’ and Nazium’s broadcasts because they were outside the reach of the station’s antenna in Brooklyn.
DJs communicate with listeners through Stickam.com’s chatroom and webcam capabilities.
Nazium recently took to the Internet to play classic rock and requests for about 100 online listeners. To the backdrop of a long-ago hit by Bachman Turner Overdrive, Nazium played air guitar and lip-synched the line “Any love is good love, so I took what I could get.”
Meanwhile, Hayes joined the broadcast by clicking one of the webcam icons next to Nazium’s feed, allowing his own video feed to appear right next to the DJ’s. So did five other online listeners.
The show represents the evolution of “pirate radio” – for Nazium and Hayes, as well as the underground broadcasting movement in general, noted BrooklynInk.com.
But while the shift of underground radio online has reduced the risk of running afoul of the FCC, but it also has taken away the thrill of piracy for Nazium and Hayes.
“There’s such nostalgia for the way it was way back when,” said Hayes, who currently works for ABC News Radio. “That feeling of danger, that the (FCC) could come at any minute, that really was a part of it. But I didn’t know that until we did it for the first time. So it was kind of like once that first kicked in, when the signal was on the air and we knew people could get it, that people were tuning in, then it was so exciting for that reason alone.”
While their pirate days are over, or paused at the very least, Hayes and Nazium are two classic embodiments of pirate radio’s golden era in Brooklyn. These DJs broadcast almost continually over the years, occasionally taking some time off to thwart FCC agents, on AM stations they named WCPR, WFAT, and WHOT. Their involvement with “The Radioship Sarah” was the theme of an article in Rolling Stone and led to a guest VJ spot on MTV.
“As long as there’s radio, there will be pirates,” Hayes reflected in an interview with CBS-TV several years ago.
RBR-TVBR observation: With the massive migration of radio listeners listening to their favorite stations on smartphones today, it’s almost just as easy to reach a local—national population—with a bigger, global online signal rather than 100 watts that reaches 8 miles. Anyone can now be a legal radio pirate online—put up posters locally with your unique URL instead of frequency…sell ads, whatever. In some ways, local internet “pirate” radio may eventually be more of a threat to ratings and ad dollars than any FM or AM pirate from days past.