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FCC Issues 16 Warnings for Allowing Pirate Broadcasts


Federal Communications Commission
Federal Communications Commission

The FCC's Enforcement Bureau issued 16 warnings to landowners in the New York City and New Jersey metro areas for allowing illegal broadcasting from their properties. The FCC may issue a fine exceeding $2 million if it determines that the party continued to permit any individual or entity to engage in pirate radio broadcasting from any property that they own or manage.

"The law is clear: owners can no longer turn a blind eye to pirate radio operations on their property," said Loyaan A. Egal, Chief of the FCC's Enforcement Bureau. "Such activities can interfere with licensed broadcast signals and do not meet the emergency alerting responsibilities of lawful radio stations. I want to thank our field agents for their widespread sweep for illegal broadcasts and for their ongoing vigilance."

The Notices of Illegal Pirate Radio Broadcasting sent Tuesday target properties identified by Bureau field agents as sources of pirate radio transmissions during the Bureau's 2022-2023 New York Pirate Sweeps. These notices formally notify landowners of the illegal broadcasting activity occurring on their property; inform landowners of their potential liability for permitting such activity to occur on their property; demand proof that the illegal broadcasting ceases on the property; and request identification of the individual(s) engaged in the illegal broadcasting.

NAB Senior Vice President, Communications Alex Siciliano issued the following statement, "NAB congratulates the FCC on its recent enforcement actions against illegal broadcast pirate operations. Pirate radio stations interfere with both licensed broadcast stations and air traffic control systems. In recent years, reductions of FCC field enforcement led directly to increased pirate activity and required Congressional action to provide the additional tools necessary to effectively combat these illegal operators by placing liability on the landowners who facilitate them. With full funding of the 2020 PIRATE Act now in place, NAB looks forward to regular enforcement sweeps that will help maintain order on the public airwaves."

The PIRATE Act provides the FCC with additional enforcement authority, including higher penalties against pirate radio broadcasters of up to inflation adjusted amounts of $115,802 per day with a maximum of $2,316,034. In addition to tougher fines on violators, the law requires the FCC to conduct periodic enforcement sweeps and grants the Commission authority to take enforcement action against landlords and property owners that permit pirate radio broadcasting on their properties.

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