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FCC Issues Record Fines Against Illegal New York Pirate Stations

The FCC is stepping up its enforcement against illegal radio stations operating in New York. Its most recent actions involve several of the most noted illegal pirate stations in the New York area.

  • Bronx: The FCC imposed a $2.3 million fine against a station operating on 105.7 in the Bronx. In assessing the large fine, the FCC noted that it had evidence that the station had been operating since 2018.


  • Mount Vernon: The FCC imposed a $2.3 million fine on a station operating on 104.5 FM in Mount Vernon. The FCC noted that the station has been operating for 15 years and has ignored previous enforcement attempts.


  • Brooklyn: The FCC imposed a $1.7 million fine against a pirate station operating on 99.4 FM. The FCC noted that the station has been operating during the past two years.


We applaud the FCC’s actions in finally moving forward against illegal pirate stations in New York. When issuing the fines, FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel said:

“In the PIRATE Act, Congress upped the ante. It increased the penalties for those who transmit unauthorized signals over the FM and AM radio bands because they can compromise public trust in this service and jeopardize the broadcasting of emergency alerts. This means higher fines and more regular enforcement sweeps in our largest radio markets.
Here, we propose fines against three unauthorized radio operators in New York that are the direct result of an enforcement sweep taken pursuant to this new law. They add up to more than $6,412,000 in penalties. They also demonstrate that the agency’s field agents are taking their broadcast enforcement duties under the PIRATE Act and that we are taking our responsibility as stewards of the public airwaves seriously.”

We applaud Rosenworcel for her continued leadership with respect to enforcing the PIRATE Act. The next step will be for the Department of Justice to take these cases to court for enforcement. Unfortunately, the FCC lacks the authority to go to court to enforce its orders. That must be done through the Department of Justice. The size of the fines in these cases should attract the DOJ’s attention. We will watch this process very closely.


You can see the FCC’s decision regarding 105.7 in the Bronx here.


View the FCC’s decision regarding 104.5 FM in Mount Vernon here.


See the FCC’s decision regarding 99.4 FM in Brooklyn here.




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