The FCC has issued one of its largest fines in history against pirate radio operators in Queens, NY. According to the FCC’s decision:
“We impose a penalty of $2,316,034 against César Ayora and Luis Angel Ayora (collectively, the Ayoras), jointly and severally, for operating an unauthorized radio station on 105.5 MHz in Queens, New York. The Ayoras have jointly engaged in the longstanding illicit operation of an unauthorized radio station known as Radio Impacto.”
The decision follows the issuance of a Notice of Apparent Liability on March 15, 2023, against the Ayoras for willful and knowing violations of section 511 of the Act by engaging in pirate radio broadcasting. Neither of the Ayoras responded to the initial FCC order.
Given the fact the Ayoras have ignored all FCC orders, it appears that a court order will be needed. The case now becomes an issue for the Justice Department. Under the Communications Act, the Department of Justice, not the FCC, has the authority to go to federal court to enforce the law and collect the fine. The only question remaining is whether the Department of Justice will pursue the case in court. In the past, it has refrained from taking pirate radio enforcement cases because the fine was too low. With the PIRATE Act, however, the fines were substantially increased. So, we are hopeful the DOJ will take the case.
You can see a copy of the Commission's decision here.