After complaining their “whack-a-mole” approach wasn’t working, the FCC was finally given some additional tools to fight pirate radio stations in 2020, when The PIRATE Act became law. The Commission is now able to hit offenders with higher fines and go after property owners who allow pirates to broadcast. So why haven’t we heard of many pirate shutdowns lately?
As required by law after the passing of the PIRATE Act, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau has submitted its first annual report to Congress. The highlight of the report from The Commission’s Enforcement Bureau Chief Rosemary Harold: We Need Money.
Harold says the Commission has received no funding to implement the PIRATE Act after the Congressional Budget Office and the Commission both estimated that it would cost $11 million for the Commission to implement the Act.
The Act mandates that the Commission conduct “sweeps” in five markets with the most pirate radio activity. According to Harold, the Commission began studying existing enforcement data to determine which markets would be subject to a sweep. But due to the lack of funding and pandemic-related restrictions on travel and building access, the Commission did not conduct sweeps during 2020.
Harold says the Commission’s ability to fully conduct the sweeps will remain subject to obtaining new funding through the appropriations process, as well as the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.