Praise For The Pirate Act


On Wednesday, the House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology passed the PIRATE Act. The “Preventing Illegal Radio Abuse Through Enforcement Act’’ calls for an increased penalty of up to $2,000,000 for anyone convicted of operating a pirate station. The legislation also mandates the FCC to perform “pirate sweeps” no less than twice a year in the country’s top five radio markets to uncover pirate operations. Here’s what FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly had to say…

“I applaud Representatives Blackburn and Doyle for the successful mark-up of the ‘Preventing Illegal Radio Abuse Through Enforcement Act.’ Representatives Lance, Tonko, Collins, their 11 cosponsors, and the entire subcommittee have sent a clear message that pirate radio ‘stations’ must be eliminated. This bill rightfully increases the penalties, requires regular enforcement sweeps, and augments the tools available to the Commission to stop illegal pirate broadcasters. At the same time, the bill notably excludes legitimate Part 15 operations, otherwise known as radio hobbyists. Today’s mark-up is an important step forward in ensuring the PIRATE Act becomes law and I look forward to seeing the bill take the next step in the legislative process.”

The NAB also reacted. “NAB strongly supports legislation passed unanimously today in the House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology that provides the FCC additional tools to address illegal pirate radio operations. Pirate radio not only interferes with signals of legal radio broadcasts. On multiple occasions, the FCC has documented that illegal pirate broadcasts have interfered with communications between airline pilots and air traffic controllers. We salute Reps. Leonard Lance (R-NJ) and Mike Tonko (D-NY) for their bipartisan sponsorship of this important legislation.”


  1. The thing I’d like to know, is there any resistance to have this bill which seems to be mainly focused on NYC and NJ shot down? It seems to me this is a one-sided unfair, unreasonable bill with the doors to the court closed to out sided opinions and votes, a hideous waste of time bill created by David Donovan along with New York State Broadcasters Association and New Jersey Broadcasters Association to piss a bunch of people off. It does not seem to be involving anyone else across the country which leads me to believe that the problem being cried over is centered mainly of these 2 corporate groups whining over kids and their Ebay 15 watt CZE FM transmitters and Dominator antennas taking listeners away from their 100 Kw flame thrower automated FCC authorized kick-ass power houses. It also seems to me that they are dictating a law to encompass all 50 states because of their own problems for attention power and praise from other corporate broadcasters. The 2 children of the FCC O’Rielly & Pai cannot accept defeat even when they have been defeated and cannot win so they throw a tantrum. Neither are out of Pampers Plus yet. While there are pirates in other states, this is the observation I am getting. Do they really think any fines will be paid? Are kids caught broadcasting from their bedrooms gonna get some kind of extortion notice to pay up, 2 Million? Come on. The Senate has more important stuff to worry about and even the US Justice Dept isn’t gonna waste time trying to collect fees that if any pirate had, they’d buy a legal station with. The Federal Government created the FCC to regulate the airwaves and this so called “radio-police” cannot handle the job? If they cannot handle the job and are calling for help from police and other broadcasters then why do we need this apparent clumsy miss-guided Government group that is so helpless it has to cry to the Senate for someone tougher? If there is truly that many pirates in these big cities, maybe they need to look a little deeper as to why. Some are hobbyist and old broadcast engineers that tinker now and then. While there are others doing it because of the misguided FCC’s disregard to people wanting a legal voice and local programming in their community. There has been nothing but TOTAL disregard to lower end groups with limited funds wanting a local small station. Shortage of frequencies maybe? How about kill a bunch of these damned translators then there would be plenty of band openings. And now with MORE de regulations in favor of the corporate monopolies, more AM translators granted instead of more LPFMs and now talk about going another step from the biggest FCC screw up of 1996 and considering just plain abolishing all ownership limits? And so now the FCC wants to take the last step to try and shut the door and lock it to guarantee ALL possible free/local radio signals are silenced for these corporations? Good luck with that plan. The stench of the FCC and NAB wreaks from NYC to Washington DC. Is there any diapers big enough to hold all this crap from over there?

  2. Allow the pirates to use shortwave freqs, virtually NOBODY is on them anyway.
    The archaic rule that they must have 50KW and target overseas makes NO sense when the shortwave bands sit empty

  3. If this legislation were worth a damn it would also go after and severely fine all manufacturers and parties involved in the marketing, manufacture and importation of electronic devices contributing to the noise floor that is harming vital broadcast communications on the mediumwave, FM bands and a broad spectrum of vital communications involving the transmission and reception of emergency communications throughout all frequency ranges. AM (mediumwave) has been all but destroyed, not only by tawdry programming but the increased noise floor not of broadcasters’ making, whether they are licensed or unlicensed. Wake up and smell the burning bands! If the NAB were worth its salt, it would be more concerned by this noise level than a handful of hobbyists transgressing Part 15 regulations.


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