Yonkers in the media
Yonkers in the Media: radio & Music
FM broadcasting has been around since the early 1900s thanks to Edwin H. Armstrong, a Yonkers native. FM radio is very important to us, “it is the required sound in TV, and the basis for mobile radio, microwave relay, and space communications”. After Armstrong read about Guglielmo Marconi sending the first wireless message across the Atlantic he became decided to become an inventor. He instantly began to experiment with his radio. He continued to experiment with the radio as he got older. Armstrong’s obsession with eliminating static led him to discovering FM radio. Yonkers was the birthplace of FM radio.
Pirate Radio Stations in Yonkers
Pirate Radio Stations were very popular in the 1960s. Pirate Radio Stations, also known as free radio stations, hit the airwaves without a license. Allan Weiner and J.P. Ferraro brought a Pirate Radio Station to Yonkers. At the time Yonkers had a population of 300,000 but no radio station. Weiner was 16 years old and Ferraro was 22 years old when they bought an AM and an FM radio station in Yonkers. Weiner was known for creating several pirate radio stations, which made up the Falling Star Network. Weiner and Ferraro believed Yonkers was entitled to their own community broadcasting service, even if it was through illegal means.
Weiner and Ferraro decided to provide the community with a radio station that discussed social issues instead of playing music. They were on the air in 1970 and 1971. The radio was meant to target popular youth culture. The Falling Star Network was open and honest about their location and the identities of the announcers to show their eagerness to become a licensed legal station. Weiner and Ferraro thought the FCC would give them a license for broadcasting since they were so popular in other areas of New York. Instead, the FCC acted by sending out warnings about penalties for the Pirate Radio Station. Weiner and Ferraro responded by briefly following orders and abandoning the radio. They quickly came back on the air and the FCC continued to send them more threats and warnings.
Amateur radio clubs in Yonkers began to complain about the pirate radio station since the FCC was hesitant to close the network. This radio group, which was made up of older white men, accused Wiener and Ferraro of spreading communism. They put so much pressure on the FCC that they decided to act. In July 1971, the Falling Star Network was shut down. Weeks later the FCC, along with U.S. marshals, went to the radio station to take their equipment. As a result of the court case Ferraro and Weiner were freed on probation. They went back to Yonkers later and began KPRC and Radio New York International. After the KPRC failed Weiner and Ferraro began the KPF-941 project. It was a 100-watt transmitter and a vertical antenna that was put in Yonkers.
Yonkers in the Radio
On the Law Link Show on the radio a criminal defense lawyer spoke about corruption among the police. The police in Yonkers are known for overstepping their boundaries. They carry out unlawful searches. The police in Yonkers are more of a “militant” group than the cops in the city. Their approach to crime is too aggressive. They make a big out of small cases. An example of this would be how the host of the Law Link Show was arrested for having a Connecticut driver’s license instead of a New York license. In addition to his experience with the cops, the lawyer had many drug cases in Yonkers.
Yonkers In Music
While there are not many songs written about Yonkers, Chip Taylor made a complete album about his experience there. Chip Taylor grew up in Yonkers with his family in the 1940s and 1950s. Taylor gives his audience a "focused look at the family, his childhood and adolescence, and the genesis of his musical career, all in appealing, rootsy settings incorporating folk, country and rockabilly styles" Chip Taylor’s album Yonkers, NY was number 6 on the Americana record chart. Yonkers, NY, a song on the album, showed how he perceived Yonkers. The following are lines from the chorus, “Everybody knows somebody, somebody wants a little more money.../Everybody knows somebody, somebody wants it just a little more sunny/Can't take a little rain on the porch the way it was back in Yonkers, New York”. This song shows how Yonkers a dead end for some people and how others are not satisfied with their lives there. Taylor also mentions how everyone wants more money which refers to the economic problems in Yonkers. Another song on Taylor’s album called Saw Mill River Road is similar to Yonkers, NY. The song opens with, "Way down in Macon they were singing the blues/But back home in Yonkers we had nothing to choose no country, no race records, just some old white fluff stuff/And for some of us boys, it just wasn't good enough". Like the song Yonkers, NY, Saw Mill River Road also displays a sense of dissatisfaction. The Saw Mill Road song also shows the lack of diversity in music in Yonkers. Taylor mentions "no race records" and only having "old white fluff stuff" to choose from. The "old white fluff stuff" refers to the typical white music available in Yonkers. Music, which is a way of creatively expressing oneself, is limited in Yonkers.
Video: "Yonkers NY" by Chip Taylor. Courtesy of http://musicfog.com
 Hammond, Jeanne. Yonkers Historical Society, "The Father Of FM: The Tragic Story Of Major E.H. Armstrong."
 Hammond, Jeanne.
 Andrew Yoder, Pirate Radio Stations: Tuning in to Underground Broadcasts in the Air and Online, (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2001), 15.
 Andrew Yoder, 16.
 Andrew Yoder, 17.
 Bernstein, Brad, "New YorkCriminal Defense Lawyer - Yonkers Police Brutality," Law Link Show, Sept 27, 2011, Web.
 “Chip Taylor: Yonkers NY.” Sing Out.
 Applebome, Peter. "From Writing 'Wild Thing' to Nostalgia for Yonkers." The New York Times, December 20, 2009.
 Taylor, Chip, "Yonkers, NY," Yonkers, NY, compact disc.
 Taylor, Chip, "Saw Mill River Road,"Yonkers, NY, compact disc.