FCC enforcement actions against pirates dwindle as budget cuts loom

Jun 03, 2015 10:32 pm
John Anderson in DIYmedia.net writes that the Federal Communications Commission may have moved the investigation of, "unlicensed broadasting off a back burner to a spot on the counter adjacent to the stove." Earlier this year, the FCC said it wants to cut two-thirds of its field offices and eliminate nearly one-half of its field agents, from 63 to 33. Instead they would create a roving squad that would swoop in, picking up some equipment already in place, and taking the pirates off the airwaves. Anderson tracks all enforcement activities and writes, "As of the end of April, there’ve been just 35 enforcement actions against 17 stations in four states. There has been no official report of field activity in May. In 2014, there were 52 enforcement actions in the same time-frame." He tracks a considerable slow-down in FCC activity, after 2014 saw the lowest level of enforcement in nearly a decade. Instead of fining any FM radio pirates, there are fines against three amateur radio operators and one illegal CB operator, $49,500 in all, mostly with operators abusing public safety channels. And Anderson also reports the FCC has been using its High-Frequency Direction Finding (HFDF) network to track down ships that are using long-distance radio frequencies reserved for aviation.

John Anderson is on Wave Farm's Board.

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