Taking action against a pirate radio operator, Federal Communications Commission agents, in coordination with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and the U.S. Marshals Service, seized radio transmission equipment from an unauthorized radio station on April 10, which was operating illegally in Manhattan. The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau has been leading an effort to crack down on this illegal activity, resulting in unlawful broadcasts going off the air, seizure of equipment, fines against pirates, proposed fines against pirates and property owners actively aiding pirate radio operations, and numerous other enforcement actions.
“Pirate radio stations are illegal, as they operate without an FCC license, and cause real harm. These stations can cause interference to legitimate, licensed broadcasters and can prevent those broadcasters from delivering critical public-safety information to listeners,” said Rosemary Harold, Chief of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau. “We are pursuing multiple legal routes to stop pirate broadcasters and this seizure action in Manhattan is one of them. We thank our partners in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and the U.S. Marshals Service, and we’re particularly thankful for the great work of FCC field agents in combatting this 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. The Act authorizes the seizure and forfeiture of any electronic or radio frequency equipment used to broadcast without an FCC license. The number of available radio frequencies is limited, and unlicensed broadcasting can interfere with the broadcasting of legitimate licensed radio stations, potentially causing chaos in the radio spectrum.