A bill which received bipartisan support proposes to raise the maximum fine for pirate radio to as much as $2 million was discussed in the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology. Lawmakers agreed that the current fines are not enough to deter Pirates.
Federal law presently allows the FCC to impose a maximum fine of $19,246 a day up to a maximum of only $144,344. The proposal would boost that to as much as $100, thousand a day up to a max of $2 Million
Unlicensed stations are putting the public at risk said David Donovan President of the New York State Broadcasters Association. Pirate radio stations potentially interfere with the Emergency Alert System’s daisy-chain leaving some without vital emergency information.
In addition to raising pirate fines, the proposal would require the FCC to conduct enforcement sweeps in the top five radio markets at least twice a year for the purpose of identifying ,locating, terminating and confiscating the equipment of pirate radio operators. Further the legislation under consideration would give the FCC authority to issue the large fines against any landlord or business that provides physical goods or services and financial assistance to an unlicensed station. This includes advertisers on a pirate station. Pirate operators are hard for consumers and advertisers to identify because illegal stations take on the aurora of legitimate stations.
The FCC has stepped up their enforcement under current law but the added fines will put a bigger bight into the law. Pirate Radio is Big business in some areas.