FCC Enforcement Focus Diversifying?

When it comes to unlicensed broadcasting, I only monitor the FCC’s activity against pirate AM, FM and shortwave stations. And as far as those areas are concerned, the FCC is on relative track to meet its record-breaking enforcement effort of last year.
eadbyactionHowever, the devil is in the details. As you can see from the breakdown of enforcement activity at right, nearly 80% of all FCC enforcement actions fall into the categories of station-visits and warning letters.
Fiscal penalties – of which the Enforcement Bureau always manages to issue a few – are not being used any less, but other, less forceful, methods of enforcement are most definitely being used more.
Although the FCC is getting more diligent about reducing the time between finding out about a pirate and making contact with the station, there is no obvious correlation between a diminution of stations on the air as a result.
And although it is now official that the FCC does indeed use the Internet to conduct surveillance on suspected pirates, there exists no correlation of efficacy regarding its online pirate-reporting system.
At the same time, the FCC’s field agents have been on quite a tear against unauthorized Citizen’s Band radio and other two-way land mobile operation, and has even issued some warning letters to violators operating in unusual spectral territory, such as bands reserved for cellular telephony and satellite communications. There is even one $18,000 Notice of Apparent Liability pending against someone in west-central Florida (“John Doe [Name Redacted”] who sent out false maritime distress calls.
As a phenomenon, it would appear that unauthorized operation use is increasing, both in “violation-frequency” and across the spectrum. Barring a radical change in enforcement protocol (which appears unlikely), the only apparent result is an increase in field-agent paperwork. The real danger lies in whether or not the FCC lumps all pirates into the same category, making the illogical leap that because someone f*cks with CB or Coast Guard frequencies that somehow makes all FM pirates dangerous. As a tactic tried before, it certainly isn’t out of the realm of possibility.