The FCC had been relatively quiet on the pirate radio front over the last few months. That all changed Thursday. The Commission proposed a $453,015 fine against Gerlens Cesar, operator of Radio TeleBoston. It’s the largest fine ever proposed by the FCC against a pirate. The Commission says Cesar used three transmitters for his illegal operation.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said the harms of unlicensed radio broadcasting are serious. “Pirate stations interfere with licensed stations—whose owners have invested time and money in providing lawful service to the public—and can also cause interference to critical public safety systems.” Pai even recorded a vidoe about the two big fines the Commission proposed Thursday Watch it HERE.
Cesar apparently simulcasts Radio TeleBoston on three unauthorized transmitters on two different frequencies. His operation thus had the potential to cause interference in various locations in and around Boston and at different channels on the FM dial. As a result of the scale of this operation, its potential impacts, and its continuous nature, the Commission has proposed the maximum penalty amount for all three transmitters.
The FCC received complaints from residents of Boston and Randolph, Massachusetts, of an illegal station operating at both 90.1 and 92.1 MHz. One of those complaints identified Cesar, owner of GC Computer, as the operator of Radio TeleBoston. FCC Enforcement Bureau field agents were able to locate the transmitters and determine that they far exceeded the allowable power level for unlicensed broadcasting. The Enforcement Bureau issued Cesar multiple written notices that his conduct was illegal and had to cease. Cesar nonetheless continued to broadcast Radio TeleBoston from multiple transmitters and frequencies, none of which were licensed, resulting in today’s proposed fine.