In July of 1987 Hank joined Allan Weiner, Pete Sayek, Ivan Jeffries, and Randi Steele when they sailed a 27 year old 150 foot long Japanese fishing ship named "Sarah" from Boston Harbor to a point located 3.5 miles off shore from Long Beach, Long Island.
Click here to visit Hank's RNI Photo Gallery
At that spot we dropped a 10,000 pound anchor into the international water—and Radio New York International, or "RNI," was born.
Inside the hull of the former drug smuggling vessel was a fully functioning studio, connected to 5 transmitters that would beam the signal to the world on 103.1 FM, AM 1620, Shortwave 49 meter band, and Longwave at 150 Hz.
After 3 nights of testing, the FCC came aboard and served us with a cease-and-desist order which we obeyed—for one day.
Since we were in international waters and consequently beyond the legal jurisdiction of the FCC and the United States Government, Allan Weiner decided to tempt the hand of fate and allow Jim and myself to broadcast a show from 6:00 PM to Midnight.
Click HERE to for the Podcast of the Hank & Jim show on RNI broadcast LIVE from the MV Sarah on the Atlantic Ocean!
Five short hours after our show ended, a Coast Guard cutter pulled up alongside the Sarah and an announcement was made on the PA system that we were being boarded and arrested. FCC Agent Judah Mansbach, in all his glory, asked for the whereabouts of Hank Hayes and Jim Nazium - he was sorely disapointed to find that we had gone ashore. Good thing we needed to buy important supplies, like beer and chips - or else we might have spent the afternoon in the burning sun with our hands cuffed behind our backs like Allan and Ivan!
There was a world-wide media frenzy that swirled around RNI. We were testing the waters (no pun intended) and just letting everyone know who we were and why we were there.
The story of America's most notorious pirate ship is a BIG one - this is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak!