Florida Moves to Criminalize Pirate Radio; Jammers Hit Clear Channel?

SB 2714 has been introduced in the Florida State Senate. This legislation would allow state authorities loose on the hunt for pirate stations; the act itself would be treated as a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine. Presently it is a crime in Florida to intentionally interfere with radio signals – a misdemeanor.
SB 2714 cleared the Senate’s Committee on Communication and Public Utilities last month on a 7-1 vote and awaits similar endorsement by the Criminal Justice Committee. A companion bill in the state House has already been endorsed by its Committees on Business Regulation (28-8) and Appropriations (37-5).
The Senate bill’s language implies it will take effect on July 1, so these bills will be on the move this session for sure. The House bill already has a half-dozen co-sponsors. Not a peep from the corporate media, who hinted this was coming, nor from the FCC.
You can thank State Senator J. Alex Villalobos and Representative David Rivera for doing the honors of hatchet men.
Then there is this coincidental bit from the rumor mill: I received a report of a 50-watt mobile FM station that recently broadcast in the Fort Lauderdale area. Mobile operations are relatively rare in the U.S. – but this one, if true, belongs in a class of its own.
It existed solely to mess with Big 106, a Clear Channel-owned classic rock station that at the end of February dropped the Howard Stern show as part of the ongoing flap between Clear Channel and the FCC over indecency.
During weekends in March this mobile pirate reportedly “cruised up and the beach in Fort Lauderdale” and played clips from Howard Stern’s shows, the movie Private Parts, and “anti-Clear Channel propaganda” directly on WBGG-FM’s frequency. On its last outing the station “drove to the studios of Clear Channel and did a drive-by in the parking lot.”
Further requests for details from the source of the initial report produced  this clip (2:01, 1.9 MB) (note: not an aircheck). There have been no cross-confirmations of this activity.
I am of a split mind over this stunt: I admire the spunk but wonder how much good 50 watts does to override a 100,000-watt classic rock blowtorch. The sentiments behind it are understandable but the tactic itself has the potential to bring more harm than it’s worth: this incident, if confirmed, could be used as ammo in the criminalization effort.