FCC Upholds Penalties for Two Miami Pirates
Fines against two Miami pirates have progressed to the level of a Forfeiture Order.
The higher fine was levied against Gary Feldman for operating an unlicensed transmitter on 97.9 MHz in Miami. The FCC originally proposed a $25,000 penalty in February after tracing the source of the unlicensed transmissions to an FM antenna mounted on the roof of Feldman’s residence.
While monitoring the station, agents heard a DJ air the name of the “hot977fmmiami.com” website and determined Feldman registered the domain name. During an inspection, he admitted he was the only one operating the station, according to the commission.
In June 2012, agents found he stopped broadcasting from his home but continued to do so on 97.9 MHz from a commercial building. The FCC also dug through its records and found Feldman had previously been fined for operating an illegal station in Tampa and had not paid that $10,000 fine. That’s why his fine is higher than the penalty discussed in the case below.
The commission said this week Feldman didn’t respond to them about the original penalty which the agency has now reaffirmed.
The commission also upheld a $15,000 fine proposed in February against Bernard Veargis for operating an unlicensed station on 91.7 MHz in Miami. Agents traced the source of an unlicensed signal to an FM antenna mounted to the roof of a commercial building. In response to a complaint from the FAA about interference to Miami International Airport departure frequency 119.45 MHz, agents found the source was the same antenna.
The FCC agents linked the transmitter to a website for “Chico the Leo Grown Folks Radio Miami.” The site and a Facebook page listed the same number for Veargis that the property owner had. He also told agents that Veargis installed the transmission equipment in the building, which Veargis admitted to the agents.
The Enforcement Bureau says he didn’t respond to the earlier notice, and that’s why it reaffirmed the fine.
Both Feldman and Veargis have 30 days to pay.