Opinion: Howard Stern’s End: What is the state of Pirate Cat Radio in L.A.?

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About 11 days ago, I picked up a very strong signal of the Howard Stern satellite show at 88.1 FM while driving east on Washington Blvd. The signal, a rebroadcast of the no-cusses-barred Stern Sirius show by an unlicensed station, broke decisively into the jazz station KKJZ at the Culver Blvd./Wash. Blvd. intersection, dropped out until the other side of the Selznick International plantation house (now known as The Culver Studios), then grew in strength and clarity, particularly once I got east of the 10. From about LaBrea to Vermont, Stern guest Evil David Letterman vied with Ella Fitzgerald singing ‘Sleigh Ride’ on KKJZ for control of the 88.1 band. What initially seemed to be a dinky signal pointed out a window in Culver City turned out to be a fairly strong broadcast. When I reached the dowtown cluster, KKJZ regained control of the band. I was unable to raise the Stern signal again by scanning up or down on the dial. This was about 8:00am on a Tuesday: Checking my hearing against, I see that I was listening to that day’s show.

Daniel at relates a similar experience this past February, at 6:15pm, traveling south on Coldwater Canyon Blvd., and picking up the signal at 88.3 FM. NBC11 news in the Bay Area reports that this is Pirate Cat Radio, which is run by Monkey Man from a Mission district theater in San Francisco and broadcasts at 87.9 in both S.F. and L.A. An email from Pirate Cat Radio tells me only ‘Yes we are!’ (In reply to my question: ‘Can we say that you’re still broadcasting, and still available at 87.9 FM, and can we give our readers any advice on where to pick you up?’)

I haven’t picked up PCR again since last Tuesday, though I’ve tried with various car radios on 88.1 (nothing but jazz), 88.3 (nothing at all), 87.9 (strong but fuzzy Spanish language) and 107.9 (pretty good Christian programming from KWVE, the station that is not ashamed of the gospel). Nor have I picked up Monkey Man’s signal while traveling along Beverly Blvd., Santa Monica Blvd., the 10, various downtown routes, or for that matter Coldwater Canyon. KKJZ did not return phone calls—not that I would really want the jazz station to take any action; better to leave some mystery around Monkey Man’s unreliable piratecast.