The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau has begun targeting property owners and managers that knowingly tolerate pirate broadcasting on their properties. The agency is using its new authority under the recently enacted PIRATE Act. Parties that knowingly facilitate illegal broadcasting on their property are liable for fines of up to $2 million.
“Pirate radio is illegal and can interfere with not only legitimate broadcast stations’ business activities but also those stations’ ability to inform the public about emergency information,” said Enforcement Bureau Chief Rosemary Harold. “It is unacceptable – and plainly illegal under the new law – for landlords and property managers to simply opt to ignore pirate radio operations. Once they are aware of these unauthorized broadcasts, they must take steps to stop it from continuing in their buildings or at other sites they own or control.”
Those who don’t, risk receiving a heavy fine, followed by collection action in court if they don’t pay. The FCC will also publicize these enforcement actions, “which may create further unforeseen business risks,” says Harold.
Under the new authority, the bureau will provide written notice to property owners and managers the agency has reason to believe are turning a blind eye to – or even helping facilitate – illegal broadcasting. These new notices will give parties a period of time to fix the problem before any enforcement action moves forward.
The first notices were issued Thursday to property owners in New York City; they were given 10 days to respond.