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FCC Issues PIRATE Act Report


Under the PIRATE Act, the FCC is required to provide an annual report of its enforcement activities to Congress. Last week, the FCC issued a two-page report. In the report, the FCC noted its actions taken during 2023:

“FCC Enforcement Bureau Field staff have issued notices to inform property owners and property managers of apparent pirate radio broadcasts from their property and to describe the potential consequences to the property owner or manager if such activity does not cease. In FY2023, the Bureau issued 44 such notices, including 25 related to pirate sweeps. Because pirate radio stations often cease operating for a period of time but then return, the Bureau will continue to monitor the properties for which notices were provided and will initiate enforcement action where appropriate.”

In addition, the report states that it has issued significant fines, including against a long-time pirate station in Queens:

“The Commission proposed the maximum penalty allowable, $2,316,034, against César Ayora and Luis Angel Ayora for pirate radio broadcasting in Queens, New York in apparent violations of the PIRATE Act.”

The FCC also opened a new website detailing actions against illegal stations that took place in 2022 and 2023. In all, the FCC took action in 35 cases involving New York pirate stations. The overwhelming majority of the cases involved notices to property owners to remove an illegal pirate operation from their property. The FCC has issued significant fines in 4 cases.

 

While we applaud the FCC’s efforts and realize that enforcement was delayed due to COVID-19, we hope the FCC will begin to expand its enforcement. Specifically, it is required to conduct spectrum sweeps. We would like to see a comparison of the number of stations the FCC found in its sweeps to the number of actions taken. For example, our own data from several years ago estimated that there could be more than 100 illegal pirate stations in the New York City Metropolitan area. In addition, we would like to see some data on the number of illegal stations that went off the air or, at the very least, ceased operations at the locations that received FCC notices. We support the FCC’s efforts and look forward to seeing increased enforcement over the next few years.

 

You can access the FCC’s PIRATE Act web portal here.

 

You can see the PIRATE report here

 

You can access the PIRATE Radio enforcement database here.

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