Injunction Sought Against Pirate Station in Worcester MA
|RADIO ONLINE | Tuesday, March 5, 2019|
The U.S. has filed a civil action to prevent an unlicensed radio station from operating in Worcester, MA. According to the complaint, Vasco Oburoni and Christian Praise International Church have been operating a broadcast radio outlet in Worcester on 97.1 MHz without a FCC license. The complaint alleges that Oburoni and the church previously operated an unlicensed radio station on frequency 102.3 MHz.
The agency has previously issued multiple warnings to the operators and issued a forfeiture order in the amount of $15,000 against Oburoni for repeated violations. Oburoni agreed to a payment plan, but later began broadcasting again without a license on a different frequency. The FCC has received complaints, including from a licensed broadcaster, that the unlicensed station is interfering with radio signals.
"It is a potential hazard to public safety for pirate radio stations to broadcast illegally and interfere with critical radio communication," said U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling. "Like any member of the community, the operators of these illegal stations could have applied for radio licenses and operated their stations in compliance with the law. When they choose to operate illegally, and continue those operations after being warned multiple times, action must be taken."
"This groundbreaking step, for an injunction to stop a pirate radio operator's illegal activities, is part of our continued effort efforts to combat illegal broadcasting," said FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Rosemary Harold. "As we work with our law enforcement colleagues to use every tool in our toolbox to combat pirate radio, I welcome the Justice Department's renewed use of its Section 401(a) injunction authority. Along with fines, equipment seizures, and warnings, this action underlines our continued interest in combatting this serious problem."
The Communications Act of 1934 prohibits the operation of radio broadcasting equipment above certain low-intensity thresholds without a license issued by the FCC.