FCC fines Amateur Radio licensee $25,000 for operating unlicensed FM station
ARRL reports in an FCC Enforcement Bureau case going back to early 2015, a Paterson, New Jersey, Amateur Radio licensee has been penalized in the amount of $25,000 for allegedly continuing to operate an unlicensed FM radio station
The FCC issued a Forfeiture Order on October 30 to Winston A. Tulloch, KC2ALN, a General class licensee. The fine followed an April 2018 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) issued to Tulloch for alleged “willful and repeated violation” of Section 301 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, by operating an unlicensed FM radio station on 90.9 MHz in Paterson. Tulloch did not respond to the NAL, the FCC indicated.
“Commission action in this area is essential because unlicensed radio stations do not broadcast Emergency Alert Service messages and therefore create a public safety hazard for their listener,” the FCC said in the Forfeiture Order. “Moreover, unlicensed radio stations create a danger of interference to licensed communications and undermine the Commission’s authority over broadcast radio operations.”
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.)
I’m happy to announce that my friend and radio producer David Goren has released the Brooklyn Pirate Radio Sound Map: a detailed interactive website exploring the dynamic pirate radio scene in Brooklyn, New York:
“In Brooklyn, when the sun goes down, pirate radio stations fire up their transmitters and take to the air, beaming transgressive, culture-bearing signals into Caribbean, Jewish and Latino neighborhoods. The Brooklyn Pirate Radio Sound Map is an archival home for the sounds of renegade community radio at a crucial turning point in its history.”
The site includes a map and virtual radio pre-loaded with off-air recordings of dozens of pirate radio broadcasters.
Over the past few years, David has put a lot of time and research into this project and I’m pleased to see it come to fruition in such a rich format. You could spend hours exploring the sound map.
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, @UlisK3LU, who notes that New Jersey pirate radio station operator, Winston Tulloch (KC2ALN), has been fined $25,000 for operating an unlicensed station on 90.9 MHz FM. According to the FCC, the hefty penalty comes after after multiple requests to halt broadcasting starting in February 2015. The station was finally taken off the air in September 2017.
SWLing Post readers: check out this amazing audio documentary by our friend David Goren about the legendary hip hop pirate radio station WBAD. It’s part of a new series from KCRW called Lost Notes.
David shares the following note:
“Endless thanks to DJ Cintronics, and Dren Starr for sharing their stories. Thanks also to Myke Dodge Weiskopf and Nick White of KCRW for their incredible, skillful work and dedication bringing this to fruition.
If by chance you are not a hip hop fan, I would still encourage you to listen to this compelling two person narrative about people who love music and the lengths they go to put it on the air.”
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