Tag Archives: Pirate Radio

The “PIRATE Act” promises fines up to $100,000 per day

(Source: Radio World via Mike Hansgen)

Pirate Radio Bill Formally Introduced

Bipartisan legislation designed to thwart and penalize radio pirates and supporters

BY SUSAN ASHWORTH, MAY 9, 2018

Another legislative step has been taken in the effort to fight illegal pirate radio operations.

On May 8, Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ) and Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY) formally introduced a bill to Congress designed to thwart and penalize illegal radio operations.

Known as the ‘‘Preventing Illegal Radio Abuse Through Enforcement Act,” the PIRATE Act will increase the ability of the Federal Communications Commission to crack down on pirate activity by increasing fines, streamlining enforcement and placing liability those who facilitate illegal radio broadcasts.

“It is time to take these pirates off the air by hiking the penalties and working with the Federal Communications Commission on enforcement,” Lance said in a statement. Chairman Pai and Commissioner O’Rielly have been able partners in making sure these broadcasts are stopped. This bill will give the FCC even more tools to take down these illegal broadcasts.”

As a commissioner who has long been searching for more Congressional authority to address pirate radio operations, FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly commended the effort after the news was announced.

“This bill rightfully increases the penalties, requires regular enforcement sweeps, and augments the tools available to the commission, which are woefully inadequate and outdated, to deal with illegal pirate broadcasters,” O’Rielly said in a statement.[…]

Click here to read the full article via RadioWorld.

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.

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.

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

Reminder: Global HF Pirate Weekend – March 30, 31, and April 1, 2018

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Andrew Yoder, who shares details about the upcoming Global HF Pirate Weekend:

Next Global HF Weekend – March 30, 31, and April 1, 2018

The idea behind the Global HF Weekends are to promote friendship through radio around the world. The hope is that listeners will be able to hear different stations and for broadcasters to reach distant locations. Anyone may participate.

The last one, which occurred during the first weekend of November 2017, was very successful. A handful of North American stations were reported on Europe and vice versa. And South American stations were heard in the North. Other stations were active specifically for the weekend, but just for a local or regional audience.

We’ll see how many stations show up during the next GHFW. It seems unlikely that stations will be using 13 meters this time and much more likely that stations will be trying the 6900-kHz range and possibly 31 and 25 meters.

March 30, 31, & April 1, 2018
Maybe 15010-15090 kHz, probably 6200-6400 kHz and 6800-6990 kHz

Of course, these were general frequency ranges used by pirates during prior Global HF Pirate weekends. Some stations will surely operate on frequencies and times outside of these ranges. In fact, the way conditions have been lately, frequencies at or below 15 MHz seem like they will be more effective for intercontinental broadcasting. These will be updated on the Hobby Broadcasting (http://hobbybroadcasting.blogspot.com/) blog as it happens and also check the loggings on HF Underground (https://www.hfunderground.com/).