Broadcaster Associations from all 50 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Sens. Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer urging Congress to keep the pressure on illegal broadcasters and pass the PIRATE Act. If passed, the new law would give the FCC new enforcement tools to close down pirate broadcasters. Here’s the text from the letter.
Dear Speaker Pelosi and Leaders McCarthy, McConnell and Schumer,
The undersigned broadcasters associations representing local, over-the-air broadcast stations in all 50 States, the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico urge your swift consideration and passage of the Preventing Illegal Radio Abuse Through Enforcement (PIRATE) Act (H.R. 583). The PIRATE Act would provide the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) with critical new enforcement measures to combat pirate radio operations.
Last Congress, substantially similar bipartisan legislation (H.R. 5709, 115th) passed the House of Representatives unanimously. For years unauthorized pirate radio stations have harmed communities across the country by undermining the Emergency Alert System, interfering with airport communications, posing direct health risks and interfering with licensed stations’ abilities to serve their listeners. The time has come to take significant steps to resolve this vexing problem.
The PIRATE Act gives the FCC additional tools to address the growing pirate radio problem. It provides the authority to levy increased fines up to $100,000 per violation and $2,000,000 in total. The PIRATE Act streamlines the enforcement process and requires the FCC to conduct pirate radio enforcement sweeps in cities with a concentration of pirate radio stations. It recognizes the importance of FCC coordination with federal, state and local law enforcement authorities. Finally, the PIRATE Act would create a database of all licensed radio stations operating in the AM and FM bands as well as those entities that have been subject to enforcement actions for illegal operation.
We are reaching the point where illegal pirate stations undermine the legitimacy and purpose of the FCC’s licensing system to the detriment of listeners in communities across the country. The PIRATE Act will help the FCC restore integrity to the system. For these reasons, local broadcasters across our great nation fully support the bipartisan PIRATE Act and urge its swift passage without changes.