At the NAB Show in Las Vegas, Tuesday, Chairman Ajit Pai updated broadcasters on the FCC’s continued crackdown on unlicensed radio stations. Pai promised he would keep the pressure on pirate operators and his FCC certainly has.
Since January 2017, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau has launched 306 pirate-radio investigations and has issued 210 Notices of Unlicensed Operation, a 101% increase in enforcement against pirates compared to 2016. The Commission has also issued $143,800 and proposed fines totaling $323,688.
Pai went on to say the FCC has gotten creative in its efforts to keep the pressure on the pirates. “For the first time, the FCC last year found property owners apparently liable for supporting this illegal activity on their property. In proposing the statutory maximum forfeiture, we want to make clear that aiding a pirate’s unauthorized use of the radio spectrum won’t be tolerated. We also successfully reached a consent decree with a pirate radio operator that involved the pirate closing up shop and paying a fine.”
And Pai also mentioned the FCC’s work with U.S. Attorney’s and the U.S. Marshals to seize transmitters and other equipment used by pirate radio stations. “Just a little over two weeks ago, on March 26, federal authorities seized radio transmission equipment from two radio stations that were operating illegally in Boston. Today, I can report that we recently took similar action against a pirate operator in Miami and another operator in Queens, New York.”