EXPRESS & STAR – 5/4/2000


By Francesca Glyn-Jones.

A Bilston DJ operated a pirate radio station which attracted listeners world – wide, a Wolverhampton court was told Paul Johnson, aged 39, ran a music station called UK Radio which had listeners in Europe and America, Wolverhampton Magistrates heard.

He admitted two allegations of unauthorised broadcasting between October 1998 and November 1999 when he appeared before the court yesterday, and was given a 12 month conditional discharge.

Mr Lester Maddrell, prosecuting for the Department Of Trade & Industry Radiocomunications, said UK Radio could have caused interference with other radio users including the emergency services. “It didn’t broadcast on a regular, predictable basis. It broadcast on an unusual range of frequencies and it is believed the equipment was moved about. All of this made it rather difficult for the department to find where it was broadcasting from.” Said Mr Maddrell.

Literature was seized from Johnson’s home showed that UK Radio had been broadcasting since 1977 and DTI officials traced transmissions to the Bilston address in 1989. “Although quite a bit of monitoring went on, there were several attempts to raid the station, but it went off the air whenever raids were due to be carried out” said Mr Maddrell.

Officers finally caught Johnson, a former radio repairer, broadcasting from his maisonette home in November, last year. Mr Maddrell said the defendant claimed in an interview that the station was set up by a man identified as ****, two weeks before the raid.

Johnson, defending himself said that he never intended to be a pirate broadcaster but the station was his hobby and he was unable to raise funds for a proper licence. “I did make two representations to the National Lottery to get a grant to get funds for a licence but unfortunately my applications were turned down.”

Magistrates ordered Johnson to pay £250 costs and his broadcasting equipment to be destroyed.