Getting pirate radio broadcasters off the air has been a pet peeve of FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly for a very long time. At Radio Ink’s Hispanic Radio Conference in Fort Lauderdale, O’Rielly’s tune didn’t change on the issue. In fact, he said it’s still a huge problem in South Florida and has a disproportionate impact on the Hispanic radio community. But he went even further.
O’Rielly said the FCC’s failure to properly address pirate radio stations highlights a deficiency in the Commission’s enforcement tools and undermines its overall credibility. “Today, these squatters are infecting the radio band at the expense of listeners of legitimate radio stations, causing great harm to emergency preparedness within covered areas and undercutting the financial stability of licensed radio stations, your stations.”
O’Rielly asked the audience to give him help on the issue. He wants assistance batting down the notion that these illegal broadcasters are somehow a training ground for those seeking to get into radio. Or that these stations bring a unique service to primarily minority communities, and therefore should be left alone.
O’Rielly did more than just speak when he was in the sunshine state. He went to the Miami field office to “ring the figurative fire alarm on overall efforts to combat pirate radio stations.” He said it was a very positive meeting but put the office on notice that he expects to see this situation addressed quickly and sufficiently.
We’ll have complete coverage of day to from the conference on Twitter Wednesday and in our Thursday morning headlines. Follow us on Twitter using the hashtag #HISRADIO17