Tag Archives: FM Pirates

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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FCC cracking down on Colorado pirates

Way High Radio’s studio.

(Source: Westword via Mike Hansgen)

Will the FCC Sink Pirate Radio in Colorado?

Word spread quickly about the mysterious unmarked black SUV parked at a highway exit just outside the town of Ward on January 24. In the self-sufficient mountain community perched at 9,500 feet, strangers always attract attention. But the strangers in the SUV weren’t just a curiosity; they were enforcement agents with the Federal Communications Commission, and they presented a real threat to a beloved community resource.

Since 1997, Ward had played host to an unlicensed FM radio station called Way High Radio. Colloquially known as “pirate” stations, radio operations such as Way High Radio are expressly forbidden by the FCC, which regulates America’s airwaves. That the station had been able to illegally broadcast from 90.5 FM for so many years was largely thanks to the isolation of the mountain town, roughly an hour-and-a-half drive from the FCC’s enforcement office in Denver.

When DJ Willy (not his real name) heard about the federal agents parked near town, he got a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach. This was a moment he’d been dreading for a long time. But he’d also studied up on FCC enforcement, and knew the agents would want to catch someone actually inside the radio station’s studio, a small trailer located next to Ward’s town hall with an antenna on top and a wooden sign that proclaimed “Office of Human Rights.”[…]

Continue reading the full article at Westword.

Click here to view Way High Radio’s website.

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RadioWorld: FCC Puts Pirate Activity in Spotlight

(Source: RadioWorld via Bill Patalon)

Over the course of two days in May, the Federal Communications Commission took action on four allegedly unlicensed pirate radio operators.

In all these cases — one in Mount Vernon, N.Y., one in Dallas and three in a single location in East Orange, N.J. — the FCC reiterated that operating radio transmitting equipment at certain levels without a valid station is against the law, ordered them all to shut down, laid out the potential ramifications and gave each a window in time for them to explain their actions in writing.

Pirate radio has been a renewed point of concern for broadcasters in the United States, with recent debate over the possible impact of cuts in field offices and with Commissioner Michael O’Rielly keeping a spotlight on the problem.

Continue reading at RadioWorld…

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The “Hidden Den” of Pirate Radio

NYC-NewYork-Brooklyn-Map

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Martin Kraft, who writes:

Where’s the hidden den of pirate radio? The Caribbean? The South China Sea? Nope, according to RadioWorld, it’s the New York City metro area:
http://www.radioworld.com/article/nybsa-76-pirates-stations-in-new-york-northern-nj/279213

NYSBA: 76 Pirate Stations in New York, Northern N.J.

A number of pirate stations are operating throughout New York City and Northern New Jersey, according to a recent engineering survey that was recently unveiled by the New York State Broadcasters Association.

According to the survey, 76 stations are currently operating without an FCC license in four primary locations. There are 19 unauthorized stations in the Bronx, N.Y.; 29 in Brooklyn, N.Y.; 13 in Newark, N.J.; and 15 in Paterson, N.J. Brooklyn saw a 58% increase in the number of pirate stations compared to a similar survey conducted in 2015.

The survey does observe that it has likely underestimated the number of pirate stations in the area, and that the total number could be more than 100.

“Like our previous studies, the new survey provides compelling evidence that the FCC needs to address this problem,” said David Donovan, president of the NYSBA. “Last summer, the entire New York Congressional delegation asked the FCC to fix the problem. While the FCC has published an Enforcement Advisory, it needs to devote the manpower and resources to increase its enforcement efforts. Moreover, Congressional action will be important to assist the FCC in these efforts.”

The potential harms associated with pirate stations include: interference to Broadcast Emergency Alert Services; interference to FAA frequencies; and failure to comply with RF radiation rules of licensed broadcast stations.

The survey was conducted by engineering firm Meintel, Sgrignoli and Wallace. The full study can be found here.

Thank you, Martin!

When I visit my buddy David Goren in Brooklyn, I’m simply amazed at the diversity of the pirate radio scene on the FM band. When David isn’t surfing the shortwaves, he’s logging local pirate radio stations. Check out his Facebook page: Flatbush Pirate Decoder. David most recently presented a program on the NYC pirate scene at the 11th HOPE conference–you can download a recording of the presentation here.

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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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FCC: Remarks on the Growth of Pirate Radio

SX-99-Dial-NarMany thanks to SWLing Post reader, Bob, who writes:

Remarks on the Growth of Pirate Radio from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Communications and Technology Subcommittee, November 17, 2015:

“I know that this committee is concerned about pirate radio. During my tenure we have taken 280 enforcement actions against pirate radio, that’s in the last two years. Commissioner [Michael] O’Rielly has been a real leader in keeping us focused on this. We’re working with the NAB [National Association of Broadcasters] on a joint task force on pirate radio. But we need more tools.

“We’re playing whack-a-mole with pirate radio. Every time a pirate radio station pops up, we whack it. We need to have consequences for those who facilitate those stations popping up. The landlords who look the other way, because helping pirates is risk-free.

“Congress could make it illegal to aid or abet pirate radio operations. Denying them the opportunity to operate in this way would be a significant means of thwarting the continued growth of pirate radio.”

http://energycommerce.house.gov/hearing/oversight-federal-communications-commission-1

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