By Matt Kroschel
BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. (CBS4) – Listeners of the Breckenridge-based 106.3 FM The Lift radio station heard strange ramblings from an unknown person along with a lot of foul language on Tuesday morning.
According to listeners who contacted the CBS4 Mountain Newsroom, the hoax or hack continued for several hours.
Someone was able to take over the IP address that sends the station’s signal out, so what was heard over the air was nowhere near what the station thought it was broadcasting, and they had no way to control it as station engineers were locked out.
The radio station told CBS4 the hack was only on the booster site in Silverthorne and that normal programming content was broadcast over the main transmitter.
Employees with the radio station told CBS4 they are “extremely troubled and sorry for what has happened and what people have had to listen to this morning.”
The radio station is owned by Always Mountain Time Network that also has corporate offices based in Denver, according to the company’s website.
“Fortune 10 companies can be the victims; you know, little always mountain time KIFT in Breckenridge can be a target,” said Dan Cowen, KIFT Director of Programming. “As horrified as our listeners were, believe me, we were a whole lot more horrified.”
What ended up on air were the voices of a couple of men from upstate New York who run an online podcast on FurCast & XBN. CBS4 reached out to them and they claim to have no involvement in the hack and posted a statement on the website.
“We have been made aware of a reported incident where FurCast & XBN content was syndicated without our knowledge on a terrestrial FCC licensed FM radio station. We are deeply sorry to hear about this inappropriate incident … we are a group of friends who publish audio and video entertainment, wherein it is marked for containing explicit and inappropriate content … We are working with law enforcement to investigate this incident. We have preserved all access log files,” the statement reads.
The alleged hack did not impact the online streaming broadcast. The radio station said they conducted an internal security audit to try to understand how the problem occurred.
“It was a slow-motion car crash and it something where we really value — especially family … to have them wake up to this is beyond horrifying,” Cowen said.
For the small station, hundreds of calls and emails from upset listeners has them vowing to make sure something like it can’t happen again.
A Federal Communication Commission investigation is likely but it’s hard to track IP addresses and who actually did the hack.