Tag Archives: FM Pirates

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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The Brooklyn Pirate Radio Sound Map is live!

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.

Brilliant job, David!

Click here to check out the Brooklyn Pirate Radio Sound Map.

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New Jersey FM Pirate fined $25,000

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.

Click here to read the full FCC Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (PDF).

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KCRW: The Rise of Pirate Radio Station WBAD

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.”

Click here to listen via KCRW or subscribe to Lost Notes via iTunes or Google Play.

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The FCC’s mission to shut down pirate radio

Recently, there have been numerous articles regarding FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s efforts to increase pirate radio enforcement. This article in The Outline is a worthy read and features our good friend David Goren prominently:

The FCC wants pirate radio stations off the air

Immigrant communities rely on these unlicensed broadcasts to stay connected to their roots. Now they could lose the signal.

On any given night, David Goren can tune into more than 30 underground radio stations from his apartment in Flatbush, Brooklyn. “About a dozen of them broadcast in Creole, to the Haitian community,” Goren, a local journalist and producer who researches the city’s pirate stations, told The Outline. “A lot of the stations will air news from home.” In addition to news and politics updates, Goren said, these stations feature Caribbean music that doesn’t get airtime on mainstream stations, advertisements for local businesses, and occasional call-in sessions with immigration attorneys.

For some immigrant communities across the country, these underground radio stations are an easy way of staying connected to one’s roots. In New York City, there may be more unlicensed broadcasters than licensed ones. Some of these clandestine broadcasters are small enterprises, while others are full-fledged stations that run advertisements and generate revenue. All of them run the risk of being fined — or in some states, including New York, New Jersey, and Florida, having their operators imprisoned — if they’re caught by the Federal Communications Commission.

[…]A map of enforcement actions on the FCC’s website illustrates the crackdown. The FCC has undertaken 306 pirate investigations since Pai took office in January 2017. The majority of these actions — 210, according to a press release issued by the agency on Wednesday — were Notices of Unauthorized Operations, warnings from the FCC telling the unlicensed stations to immediately shut down or risk fines and prison time. The release also notes that the FCC “took more than twice as many actions against pirate broadcasters” in 2017 than it did the previous year. (For the first time since its inception, the agency said, it has begun holding property owners liable for “supporting this illegal activity on their property.”)[…]

Click here to read the full article on The Outline.

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FCC enforcement update: Boston, Brooklyn, Miami, Newark and Fayetteville

Many thanks to an SWLing Post contributor who shares the following FCC enforcement items:

RADIO EQUIPMENT SEIZED FROM TWO ILLEGAL RADIO STATIONS IN BOSTON

https://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2018/db0328/DOC-349973A1.pdf

STATEMENT OF COMMISSIONER MICHAEL O’RIELLY ON ACTION AGAINST TWO BOSTON PIRATE RADIO “STATIONS”

https://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2018/db0328/DOC-349972A1.pdf

Notes:

These news releases do not indicate whether the U.S. Marshals Service and FCC agents personally interacted with the alleged operators of these stations.

The FCC stated that the items were seized from the stations’ “antenna location,” which suggests that transmission equipment, but not studio equipment or persons, were taken into custody. For those details we will have to await official legal texts and not news pieces from the FCC media office.

Only a small minority of unlicensed stations ever have their equipment seized. Increasingly the FCC sends enforcement notices to the landlords of these stations, in the expectation that they will act against broadcasting tenants.

Additional enforcement actions against unlicensed stations were released today:

JEROME MOULTRIE; MIAMI, FLORIDA. Notice of Unlicensed Operation issued for radio signals on frequency 90.1 MHz in Miami, Florida. Action by: Regional Director, Region Two, Enforcement Bureau. Adopted: 03/28/2018 by Notice. EB DOC-349981A1.docx  DOC-349981A1.pdf

JEAN CLAUDE MICHEL; BROOKLYN, NEW YORK. Notice of Unlicensed Operation issued for radio signals on frequency 90.9 MHz in Brooklyn, New York. Action by: Regional Director, Region One, Enforcement Bureau. Adopted: 03/28/2018 by Notice. EB DOC-349979A1.docx  DOC-349979A1.pdf

ANGEL RIGOBERTO PINZON; OSSINING, NEW YORK. Notice of Unlicensed Operation issued for radio signals on frequency 90.5 MHz in Newark, New Jersey. Action by: Regional Director, Region One, Enforcement Bureau. Adopted: 03/28/2018 by Notice. EB DOC-349978A1.docx  DOC-349978A1.pdf

FREDDIE RODRIGUEZ; FAYETTEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA. Notice of Unlicensed Operation issued for radio signals on frequency 87.9 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Action by: Regional Director, Region Two, Enforcement Bureau. Adopted: 03/28/2018 by Notice. EB DOC-349980A1.docx  DOC-349980A1.pdf

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Radio Survivor: Exploring and Preserving the Brooklyn Pirate Radio Scene

Check out this brilliant episode of the Radio Survivor podcast which features our Shortwaveologist friend, David Goren along with John Anderson of Brooklyn College:

(Source: Radio Survivor)

There are more unlicensed pirate radio stations in New York City than licensed stations. The borough of Brooklyn is a particular hotspot. Producer and journalist David Goren has been researching and recording these stations so that their ephemeral nature isn’t lost to history. To help preserve this legacy and make it accessible to a wider audience he’s constructing an interactive map of Brooklyn pirates, due to be released later this year.

David joins us on this episode along with Prof. John Anderson of Brooklyn College, who has been tracking and researching unlicensed radio for two decades. We discuss the unique qualities of Brooklyn pirates, and how they fulfill the needs of communities that are underserved by other media, why it’s important to preserve their legacies, and why the expansion of low-power FM failed to provide sufficient opportunities in cities like New York.

Click here to listen on SoundCloud.

Also, check out the Brooklyn Pirate Radio Sound Map funding page!

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