It’s been a surprisingly slow year so far in the FCC’s low-intensity war against unlicensed broadcasting.
After 2010’s decline in year-over-year enforcement actions, it would seem that field agents’ priorities are shifting.
Four people have been hit with a total of $75,000 in Notices of Apparent Liability (i.e., pre-fines) this year. However, three of those cases are carry-overs from 2010. Continue reading “FCC Enforcement: Pirates Less a Pirority?”
The FCC’s trend of hunting unlicensed broadcasters may be slowing down.
The number of enforcement actions against unlicensed broadcasters fell off dramatically during 2010 – from a record single-month high of 75 in April to just 9 (known so far) in November. May and June represented pivotal months in this decline.
Barring a massive run of enforcement actions over the next two weeks, 2010 will represent the first cumulative decrease in the FCC’s pirate-hunting efforts after four consecutive record-breaking years. Continue reading “FCC Enforcement Plateau Ahoy?”
The Enforcement Action Database is up-to-date again; so far for the year the FCC is running at blatant record pace with regard to enforcement actions – 235 as of mid-May, while 2009 saw a cumulative enforcement action total of 445. If this pace continues, 2010 may be the first year in which the FCC cracks 500 enforcement actions.
Taking a closer look at the data, the methodology of field enforcement remains the same – lots and lots of station-visits and threatening letters, but nothing in the way of raids and seizures, and very little in the way of monetary penalties. The practice of stats-enforcement is also still in full effect; for example, a whopping four warning letters were sent to different individuals in two states for the same unlicensed FM station in Brockton, Massachusetts. Continue reading “Enforcement Action Update: East Coast Booming”
For the ninth year in a row, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau has broken its record for the number of enforcement actions taken against unlicensed broadcasters in any given calendar year. 429 enforcement actions spanning 22 states have been catalogued; there are likely to be some stragglers into the database but 2009 goes into the books as the year of the one-armed paper-hanger.
The numbers themselves are relatively unsurprising. Enforcement actions in 2009 were more geographically-concentrated (Florida, New York and New Jersey accounted for nearly 63% of all enforcement actions), but unlicensed broadcast activity was reported coast-to-coast. Continue reading “War on Pirates in 2009: (Paper) Fur Flies Furiously”
I caught up on the FCC’s enforcement actions against unlicensed broadcasters this weekend. The summer’s been kind of slow for field agents, though it doesn’t mean they’re not active: enforcement activity has been reported in 17 states this year, and stations both “new” and old are getting dimed.
As you can see from the graph at right, the majority of enforcement actions continue to be administrative: of all the enforcement activity conducted by the FCC against pirate broadcasters since 1997, fully 82% have led to nothing stronger than a visit or warning-via-certified letter. Continue reading “Enforcement Action Update: Paper Still Beats Rock, Scissors”
As part of a long-standing effort to get the legacy-projects of the site up to speed before delving into the dissertation, I’ve compiled the “final” statistics for the FCC’s enforcement actions in 2008 and brought the Enforcement Action Database up to-date for this year.
Unfortunately, the agency just missed hitting the 400 mark with enforcement actions last year – though due to the various methods by which the Enforcement Bureau inflates its enforcement statistics, it’s safe to say that most likely fewer than 200 stations were actually “dimed” by the agency in some way last year. Continue reading “Enforcement Action Database Update”
I’ve just finished updating the Enforcement Action Database. The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau has reported its field actions through mid-December, and as you can see, given any activity over the balance of the month, it is on target to meet and/or (most likely) beat the record enforcement year of 2007.
What does this mean? It depends on how you look at the data. Sure, the FCC’s busting more pirates than ever, but does that really mean it’s making a dent in station proliferation? A couple of major conclusions from the year-in-review are striking: Continue reading “The "War on Pirates" in 2008: Paper Beats Rock, Scissors”
A long-overdue update to the Enforcement Action Database reveals that the FCC’s conducted more than 130 enforcement actions against pirate stations this year – nearly apace for all of 2005, when the FCC first began taking an administratively tougher stance on unlicensed broadcasting in a post-LPFM world. If this rate of activity stays constant the year could very well end on the north side of 400 enforcement actions.
I call the FCC’s posture on pirate radio “administratively tougher” because, as the raw data shows, the agency has a hard time escalating its enforcement protocol. The duration between initial site-visit and follow-up warning letter is now in the 10-day range. Sometimes the period between a warning letter and fine can be as short as a month. Continue reading “FCC Enforcement On Record Pace, Again”
Just caught up on the FCC’s last two months of activity. It’s been a busy winter: 274 enforcement actions for 2006 and counting.
This includes fines, or threats of fines, of $10,000 against the transmitter-hosts of both microstations in San Diego, though escalating the enforcement process up to that level of severity remains mostly outside the FCC’s standard protocol (in related news, the agency’s Inspector General is planning an audit of its regulatory fee-collection process, something not done since 1999). Continue reading “Enforcement Action Database Cracks 1,000 Actions”
Sparked by an interview done for this story, I’ve spent the last couple of weeks conducting a much-needed audit of the Enforcement Action Database. The biggest changes involved harmonizing the counting methodology from year-to-year, and correcting scattered counting errors collected over a decade of compilation.
However, the revised figures show no significant change in the trends of late: more administrative penalties, less overall muscle, and the proliferation of stations continues. I will be the first to admit to sucking at math. Continue reading “Enforcement Action Database Revamp”