Pirates Beware. O’Rielly Is Gunning For You.

0

Speaking before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation Wednesday, FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly, who is also a keynote speaker at Radio Ink’s upcoming Hispanic Radio Conference, made it clear shutting down pirate radio stations remains an important issue to him. He told the Committee these squatters “are infecting the radio band at the expense of consumer services, including emergency communications and the financial stability of licensed radio stations.”

He told the Committee these squatters “are infecting the radio band at the expense of consumer services, including emergency communications and the financial stability of licensed radio stations.” O’Rielly gave an example of Massachusetts where he learned that there were 24 pirates operating in one market in that state, and he says the problem has only gotten worse there. “While this issue mainly affects four to five larger East Coast radio markets (e.g., Boston, Miami, New Jersey, New York), failure to properly address it highlights a deficiency in the Commission’s enforcement tools and undermines our overall creditability.”

O’Rielly did say he believe the pirate problem is fixable and preventable, although it has been going on for as long as anyone can remember. He said The FCC’s new “tiger teams” are working to address the situation, but he would like some help from lawmakers. “I humbly suggest that the Commission could use some limited and targeted statutory authority dedicated to address pirate radio. Specifically, I propose that the Commission be able to seize equipment found in common areas that is broadcasting illegally in the radio band. In addition, our current fines should be increased, and some ability to impose penalties on those that directly and intentionally aid pirate stations could be helpful. While I would have concern if this authority were applied across the board, in this instance, I believe it would help minimize our current whack-a-mole approach that has proven less than effective.”

NO COMMENTS

LEAVE A REPLY