FCC Developments on Multiple Fronts

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”

Super Bowl Pirates Fined $12,000

Most pirates in the United States operate on sporadic schedules. The 24/7 in-your-face operations may be the best-known and most-heralded, but the vast majority of unlicensed broadcasting is done on the sly in the hopes of staying under the FCC’s radar.
The rules are different, however, if the broadcast piracy involves professional sports. A nebulous outfit called Global Radio, Inc. operated pirate stations on multiple frequencies during this year’s Super Bowl and got away with it with a slap on the wrist compared to what most busted microradio stations receive.
Global Radio reportedly specializes in “event broadcast services” and applied to the FCC for six “experimental” FM licenses for use inside San Diego, CA’s Qualcomm Stadium. These temporary stations would give fans in the stands their choice of play-by-play announcer teams to listen to. Game details would be broadcast to the surrounding parking lot and little radios were even set up in the stadium’s bathrooms, so fans wouldn’t have to miss a second of the action on the field. Continue reading “Super Bowl Pirates Fined $12,000”