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Radio News: Industry mag writes hysterical pirate radio story

May 23, 2017 11:06 pm
Inside Radio has a large, three-part series on the state of pirate radio in the United States that says little. The biggest news in the story may be how little the new Donald Trump-dominated Federal Communications Commission is doing about the scourge of illegal broadcasting on the nation's airwaves. So far field agents have issued only 20 official warnings to pirate radio operators in 2017 according to the FCC. Roughly four pirates per month, or one a week, are getting letters from the FCC since Donald Trump became president. But there is a statement from the new FCC chief Ajit Pai: “Chairman Pai has made clear that confronting pirate radio is an enforcement priority for the agency,” an FCC spokesperson said in an email to the magazine. “The chairman has asked the Bureau to review its policies related to pirate radio and work to find ways to further bolster the Commission’s capabilities on this front. The chairman and Bureau leadership have also worked closely with the FCC field office staff to reaffirm that essential part of the Commission’s enforcement mission.” Despite the lack of evidence, the broadcast industry lobby feels like the new administration is taking action. “They are definitely more interested in stopping pirate radio,” said Florida Association of Broadcasters president Pat Roberts. And in New York: “We’ve seen a real significant change in attitude at the FCC. There is now a real desire to try to eradicate this problem,” New York State Broadcasters Association president David Donovan said. “What I see is a determination by the Commission to go after this issue, which we have not seen for decades.” And, like the president, these lobbyists know how to talk both sides of the same issue. “Our estimates are there are hundreds of pirates in New York City alone and that number will increase dramatically during the summer,” Donovan said. And, writing letters to one illegal broadcaster per week should take care of that problem in no time.
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