Tag Archives: FCC Anti-Pirate Agenda

PIRATE Act passes Senate

(Source: Radio World via Marty)

“Opponents of illegal broadcasting scored a major and long-anticipated victory today: The Senate (finally) unanimously passed the PIRATE Act Wednesday.

Short for “Preventing Illegal Radio Abuse Through Enforcement,” only one hurdle remains for S.R. 1228: President Trump’s desk.

The legislation also represents a coup for FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly, who has championed the anti-piracy enforcement actions recently.

In response to the act’s Senate passage, National Association of Broadcasters President/CEO Gordon Smith said, ‘This legislation provides stronger resources to help the FCC combat illegal pirate radio operations, which not only interfere with licensed radio stations but also public safety communications and air traffic control systems. We look forward to the President signing the PIRATE Act into law.’”[…]

Click here to read the full article at Radio World.

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The Verge: “Who’s afraid of the PIRATE Act? Not Joan Martinez”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mark Hirst, who shares this article from The Verge:

When she was growing up in East Flatbush among the Haitian diaspora, former pirate broadcaster Joan Martinez — no relation to the New York radio legend Angie Martinez, despite what Joan claimed to her friends as a youth — said that the sounds of pirate radio were the backdrop to her childhood. “Starting Friday night, all throughout the weekend, you would just hear all these like crazy DJs just talking and all this music,” Martinez says. Her parents’ apartment was the meeting spot for her whole family, a place where they’d reminisce about being in Haiti. They needed a place that felt like home. Martinez says that, as a kid, she never understood why the stations they listened to only broadcast on the weekends. As she got older, there were fewer of them — and then in 2010, she says, they started to come back online.

Martinez got into the scene as a broadcaster after her mother turned down an offer to be a DJ at a pirate station. “She was like, ‘No, I don’t want to. However, I do have a daughter that did study broadcasting in college,’” — Joan — “and then all of a sudden they were like, ‘We want her. Like, can we bring her in here?’” Martinez went. It was 2010. Her first job was as an anchor, where she talked through the news from the Caribbean and New York City. Then she filled in for a couple of high school girls who had their own show — and eventually took the spot over completely. It was a talk show she did with her friends for a year and a half, until Martinez decided to go back to school. (“It was a pretty live show. Sometimes things get a little raunchy, sometimes things get a little too crazy and it’s like, I don’t want to piss off my supervisor,” she says. Pirates have org charts and standards, too.)

After school, she went back, but not for very long; academia pulled her back in, and today, she’s in grad school, currently at work on her thesis. “I was doing pirate for a good five years and then when I got into grad school, since the coursework was becoming very time consuming, I had to kind of let that go,” Martinez says, adding that she’s mostly involved these days in an administrative, consulting way. “However, you know, I still keep my fingers in their pot.”[…]

Continue reading the full article at The Verge.

The Flat Bush area of Brooklyn, NY, is the cultural center of the FM Pirate Radio Scene. Check out David Goren’s Brookly Pirate Radio Soundmap to dive in deeper!

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Pirate Radio: FCC Enforcement focuses on small markets

(Source: Tom Taylor Now)

The FCC’s busting more pirates in smaller markets.

True, the Dallas office issues two Notices of Unlicensed Operation for an 87.9 in Houston, run out of New Beginnings Fellowship Church. But agents from Dallas also found a pirate FM at 93.5 up in the smallish Texas Panhandle town of Amarillo. (That one was also operated out of a church, the Iglesia Bautista Renovacion Ministerio Internacional.) The spectrum cops from Dallas also detected a 95.9 in Port Arthur, Texas. And out in California, agents from the L.A. office ventured up to Oxnard to respond to a complaint about a 99.1 operating from a business. (It was a business run by Maria Gonzalez, who gets the NOUO.) So while the traditional pirate radio hotbeds in South Florida, the New York City area and Boston get attention, there seem to be more complaints and more investigations in smaller markets. If the “PIRATE Act” that passed the House ever makes it through the Senate and is signed into law, the FCC would be required to make twice-yearly sweeps of the five most active areas for pirates. But it seems illegal FMs may simply be popping up in less-likely places. The equipment’s cheap and you might not get caught. Though one pirate in Miami got nabbed doing something novel – operating a pirate station out of a parked RV. (Sure keeps the costs down.)

Click here to read at Tom Taylor Now.

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FCC Commissioner pushing for aggressive pirate radio enforcement

Many thanks to an SWLing Post contributor who shares this FCC PDF document: Remarks of FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly Before the 2017 Hispanic Radio Conference, Fort Lauderdale, Florida March 28, 2017.

Note O’Rielly’s remarks regarding pirate radio enforcement in the south Florida radio market:

“Many of you may have heard me speak before about pirate radio, a huge problem here in South Florida and one that has a disproportionate impact on the Hispanic radio community. The failure to properly address it highlights a deficiency in the Commission’s enforcement tools and undermines our overall credibility. Today, these squatters are infecting the radio band at the expense of listeners of legitimate radio stations, causing great harm to emergency preparedness within covered areas and undercutting the financial stability of licensed radio stations, your stations.

To that point, I could use your assistance in batting down arguments that pirate radio stations are somehow training grounds for those seeking to enter the field or that these “stations” bring a unique service to primarily minority communities, and therefore should be left alone. Few people actually have your background, experience, and history of serving these important communities, so your voice and words would be a welcome rejoinder to these baseless claims.

On my part, just this morning, I spent some time with the FCC’s Miami Field Office to ring the figurative fire alarm on overall efforts to combat pirate radio stations. Quite frankly, I sought answers on why these stations weren’t already eradicated. In particular, I discussed their recent enforcement actions in this market, what obstacles they face in expediting cases, and what additional authority may be of assistance. I also raised the issue of whether the ability to seize pirate equipment found in common areas could aid their efforts. In addition, we discussed whether our current fines should be increased, and if imposing penalties on those that directly and intentionally facilitate pirate stations could be helpful. It was a very positive meeting, and I walked away with renewed belief that the Miami Team was up to the task. But, they are also on notice that I expect to see this situation addressed quickly and sufficiently.”

Click here to read Commissioner O’Reilly’s full remarks (PDF).

In addition, this reader notes a new job posting with the FCC for an enforcement officer:

https://fcc.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/466088000/

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FCC Commissioner outlines 2016 anti-pirate agenda

fcc-logoMany thanks to an anonymous SWLing Post contributor who writes:

The FCC released this material [yesterday]. It consists mainly of letters to various organizations to ask their members to avoid cooperating with unlicensed radio stations.

The concern is that real estate owners may be harboring unauthorized stations, and that businesses may support such stations with advertising funds.

I would point you to an interesting opinion on the subject by Prof. John Anderson:

O’Rielly Outlines Anti-Pirate Agenda for 2016

John references this recent YouTube video clip of a Congressional hearing where FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is questioned on the FCC’s enforcement efforts:

Again, I am not the source of the following material–the FCC is:

STATEMENT OF COMMISSIONER MICHAEL O’RIELLY ON PIRATE RADIO ENFORCEMENT ADVISORY.

STMT. News Media Contact: Robin Colwell at (202) 418-2300, email: Robin.Colwell@fcc.gov  OCMO https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-338021A1.docx
https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-338021A1.pdf

Released:  03/01/2016.  FCC ENFORCEMENT ADVISORY: PERSONS OR BUSINESSES OPERATING “PIRATE” BROADCAST STATIONS ARE SUBJECT TO ENFORCEMENT ACTION. (DA No.  16-159)  This Enforcement Advisory discusses the rules that prohibit “pirate” radio, explains to the public at large what broadcast actions are illegal, why such activities may harm the public, and what do to in case someone suspects “pirate” broadcasts.  EB . News Media Contact: Will Wiquist at (202) 418-0509, email: Will.Wiquist@fcc.gov

https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-16-159A1.docx
https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-16-159A10.pdf
https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-16-159A11.pdf
https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-16-159A12.pdf
https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-16-159A13.pdf
https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-16-159A2.pdf
https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-16-159A3.pdf
https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-16-159A4.pdf
https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-16-159A5.pdf
https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-16-159A6.pdf
https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-16-159A7.pdf
https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-16-159A8.pdf
https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-16-159A9.pdf
https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-16-159A1.pdf

Note that the bulk of this report focuses on FM/AM radio pirates in local markets rather than shortwave pirates (though I’m sure, on occasion, shortwave pirates are on the FCC radar).

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