Copafeel knew there'd be cops at his door when he showed up at his Lee Road office Nov. 20. He had been alerted that his alarm was triggered and that police likely responded.
But when he arrived, he realized these were no ordinary cops. Five federal marshals and a couple of Federal Communications Commission agents were busy dismantling equipment for his two pirate radio stations, 93.5-FM and 93.9-FM. Copafeel says the feds took six hours to remove everything from his office -- computers, Internet equipment, radio equipment. It totaled more than $50,000 worth of property, he estimates.
"I got wiped out," says Copafeel, who won't give his real name or age. "I'm not sitting here telling something that's a joke. This is very, very serious."
Across town on the same day, the feds also bounced Rayon "Junior" Payne's 95Live station off the air, confiscating his radio transmitter and antenna.
Representatives of the FCC and federal marshals said they cannot comment because they consider the case to be open.
The raids come at a time when Copafeel and Payne, who goes by the on-air name NSX, had became friends again after nearly a year of acrimony. The two founded 95Live out of Copafeel's Rosemont apartment five years ago, and they became wildly popular with the urban hip-hop crowd.
But the two split last year after clashing over business decisions and NSX's over-the-top antics, which occasionally led to scraps with rival DJs.
Copafeel dedicated part of his programming to local acts and was popular with the underground dance scene.
NSX, meanwhile, was off the air for part of the year fighting an allegation of rape. He returned to the air in September.
For the record, both say they were merely Internet radio providers, and not broadcasters subject to FCC guidelines. But it was obvious their programs were popular with the Orlando radio crowd.
For that reason, Copafeel blames the raid on a presumed tip from 102Jamz (WJHM-FM 101.9), an urban station that was named Orlando's top radio station by R&R Online the same day of the raids.
"There were two forces in hip-hop in Orlando," Copafeel says. "There was no need for anybody to `listen to` 102Jamz. We had cleaned up our music. No cursing or anything. All of a sudden we get shot down. You explain that."
But 102Jamz Station Manager Robin Smith says her station didn't alert the feds. "I think it was pretty simple," says Smith. "They were running an illegal operation in violation of FCC rules. They were running on borrowed time."
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