This week Howard Stern‘s empire evolved to a new level when he debuted his new program on the Sirius satellite radio network. Howard’s departure from the realm of terrestrial broadcasting caused much consternation. Fear not, for pirate radio is keeping Stern alive on the airwaves: the New York Daily News reports that two pirate stations aired uncensored segments of “Howard 100” on FM frequencies in Brooklyn, New York and the Newark/Secaucus, New Jersey area.
Several pirates operate throughout the NYC metroplex; the article quotes a commercial station‘s program director on the subject: “You’d like to catch them, but it’s like finding a needle in a haystack. Fortunately, they come and go.” Continue reading “Pirates Rebroadcast Howard Stern in NY, NJ”
The New Jersey state Senate voted 38-0 Monday to make unlicensed broadcasting a fourth-degree felony. Conviction can result in 18 months prison time and $10,000 in fines. The state Assembly passed an identical bill last March; acting governor Richard Codey is expected to sign without comment.
Shortly after Florida criminalized pirate radio in 2004, the state broadcasters’ association held special training for law enforcement officials on how to track and bust unlicensed stations. I guess we can expect a repeat performance in the Garden State. Continue reading “New Jersey Second State to Criminalize Pirate Radio”
It’s been nine months since the American Radio Relay League formally requested the FCC void a statute implemented in Florida last year that criminalized unlicensed broadcasting. The agency’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau is supposed to do the deliberation. So far, no word.
The FCC’s in a sticky situation. Pirate radio activity in Florida is off the charts compared to the rest of the country – way, way more than the FCC field offices in Tampa and Miami can handle. So they would prefer to look the other way while state officials clean up the AM and FM dials: the chief of the Tampa office has already said as much. Continue reading “Anti-Pirate Laws Under Fire, Nearing Passage”
Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) plans to reintroduce a bill (which died of inaction last session) that would expand the FCC’s LPFM service back out to its original parameters as defined in 2000. She’s released a statement touting the initiative as a plus for media diversity (though she’s off by a week on LPFM’s fifth birthday, but that’s just nitpicking).
However, the more exciting legislative action seems to be taking place at the state level. Although state broadcast lobbies in Florida and New Jersey are criminalizing unlicensed broadcasting, there is a new push afoot in another state (which will remain nameless so as to keep the lobbyists at bay for as long as possible) to enact legislation that would put control of broadcast radio stations whose signals do not cross a state line under the control of that state’s regulator of public utilities. Continue reading “LPFM Legislation Redux; Taking Initiative at the State Level”
First it was Florida…now the New Jersey Broadcasters’ Association is pushing a bill through the state legislature that would make unlicensed broadcasting in the state a fourth-degree felony. Whereas conviction in Florida could cost you $5k and/or five years behind bars, New Jersey’s proposed law hits pirates for $10,000 and up to 18 months in jail. Continue reading “New Jersey Moves to Criminalize Pirate Radio”
First the enforcement tidbits. Global Radio, the company which operated several unlicensed FM transmitters at San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium during the 2003 Super Bowl, has had its $12,000 fine reduced to $10,800. Global was caught broadcasting on six frequencies during the game when it only had authorization to use two (although the FCC initially prosecuted it for running three of the four pirate stations).
The company angled for a cancellation of its fine based on a couple of interesting arguments. The first was that Global went pirate on extra channels “to experiment with the boundaries of Part 15” broadcasting. This makes little sense as FCC staff on hand for the game collected ample evidence that the unlicensed transmitters were indeed way over Part 15 power levels (which couldn’t have covered the entire stadium). The second argument was more traditional: a $12,000 fine would put the company in serious financial straits. Unfortunately, Global neglected to provide the requisite three years of tax returns to back up a claim of inability to pay the penalty. Continue reading “FCC Developments on Multiple Fronts”
In the last week or so two more pirate stations in New Jersey and Illinois have been silenced. These are unusual cases. According to the Associated Press the NJ station, “El Sol 95.3,” was raided on Wednesday. It was run “by a group calling itself the Moors. The group has claimed U.S. laws do not apply to it because its members are indigenous Americans who have lived on the continent since the beginning of time….A man who answered the door said the station was authorized under the ‘Great Seal’ and offered a homemade document signed by ‘Queen Ali.'” Continue reading “More Busts Reported”