FCC Chief Promises Crackdown on Unlicensed Broadcasting

Federal Communications Commission chief Ajit Pai has a reputation as a deregulator, but when it comes to unlicensed broadcasting he’s been tightening rather than loosening the noose. “Since becoming Chairman,” he declared in a statement last week, “I’ve made it quite clear that the FCC won’t tolerate the unauthorized and illegal use of the radio spectrum. Towards that end, I’ve made it a Commission priority to crack down on pirate radio operations.”

Some of you might think pirate radio is an anachronism in an age of internet streaming. (Some of you might think that about radio, period.) But it’s still around. Unlicensed broadcasters still homestead unused spots on the spectrum, and the FCC still wants to drive them away, whether or not they’re actually interfering with anyone else’s signals. Pai’s statement came alongside an apparent escalation in the war on piracy: His agency wants to slap Radio Touche Douce, a Haitian station in Miami, with a fine of $144,344. That’s the highest possible penalty for the violation; The Miami Herald reports that two FCC officials “can’t recall the last time a station was hit so hard.” What’s more, the commission is taking the rare step of fining not just the broadcaster but his landlords, arguing that they did not merely host the antenna but actively conspired to keep the operation afloat.


Read more – Reason: http://bit.ly/2yyd1ux

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