Rhode Island Pirates Can’t Hide From FCC Enforcers On Patrol


After starting the year pinching pirate broadcasters in Miami, the Federal Communications Commission Enforcement Bureau is tracking down unlicensed operators in colder climates. The FCC’s Boston Office is investigating an unauthorized FM broadcast from Providence, RI.

A Notice of Illegal Pirate Radio Broadcasting was sent to Nerva and Edith Jean Philippe after FCC agents utilized direction-finding techniques to trace radio signals on the frequency 97.1 MHz emanating from the Jean Philippes’ property on Althea Street.

So far no fine has been imposed against the couple, but under the new inflation-guided forfeiture guidelines, they could face fines of up to $119,555 per day – with a maximum of $2,391,097 – if the illegal broadcasting continues.

These potential fines highlight FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel’s firm stance on eradicating pirate radio operations, reflecting the agency’s intensified efforts to enforce broadcasting laws. In its 2024 report to Congress concerning the PIRATE Act, the FCC disclosed plans to equip the Enforcement Bureau with additional agents and six advanced vehicles designed for pirate radio detection, scheduled for deployment within the next two years.


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