FCC hope to hire Pirate Radio hunters

Photo by Ben Koorengevel

(Source: Inside Radio)

Broadcasters would likely call it money well-spent, but it’s still cash coming from the federal government’s hands. The Federal Communications Commission estimates it will cost the agency at least $11 million to enforce the newly-adopted law that requires it to step up pirate radio enforcement. “Specifically, in order to combat the problem of illegal radio operations, the statute requires a sweeping process that will require new equipment and a substantial number of additional field agents to implement fully,” FCC Chair Ajit Pai told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee during a hearing on Tuesday. Pai said he hoped congressional budget writers would determine a “reasonable funding level” for the FCC that reflects that added cost, suggesting the agency’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year should be raised to $354 million.

Signed into law by President Trump last month, the Preventing Illegal Radio Abuse Through Enforcement Act, or “PIRATE” Act (S.1228) was unanimously approved by both the Senate and House. The new law raises fines on unlicensed station operators to $100,000 per day per violation, up to a maximum of $2 million. In addition to tougher fines on violators, the FCC would also be required to conduct sweeps in the five cities where pirate radio is the biggest problem—New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Dallas—at least once a year. And then, within six months, field agents would be mandated to return to those markets to conduct “monitoring sweeps” to determine whether the unlicensed operators simply powered back up or changed frequencies. The agency would also be required to issue a report to Congress on an annual basis about its pirate-fighting efforts.

Pai told the Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee that the FCC is already gearing up for implementing the new law. “We are submitting a formal amendment to the Office of Management and Budget concerning costs associated with the full implementation of the PIRATE Act,” said Pai.[…]

Continue reading the full article at Inside Radio.

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7 thoughts on “FCC hope to hire Pirate Radio hunters

  1. rtc

    Why can’t the FCC ban stuff like this:

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/15W-PLL-FM-Transmitter-Stereo-Mono-Bluetooth-Antenna-for-Wireless-Broadcast-US/172131071286?hash=item2813cfb536:g:bEYAAOSwOQJdMnwD&redirect=mobile

    and

    https://www.amazon.com/Signstek-Transmitter-Stereo-Station-AntennaFashion/dp/B00CGVHJ32/ref=mp_s_a_1_4?keywords=fm+broadcast+transmitter&qid=1584229212&sr=8-4.

    These rigs (and others) are plentiful and easily obtainable,making it
    quite simple to be a pirate.

    Reply
    1. Jake Brodsky, AB3A

      The FCC has no enforcement arm. They have attorneys and they can bring these cases to civil court. That’s it. It is a long and drawn out process, involving lots of technical details that most judges, never mind juries, are able to understand.

      It’s a mess. But given how many enforcement arms there are from various federal agencies and the thuggery that many of them have displayed, maybe it’s not such a bad thing.

      Reply

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