The Federal Communications Commission has affirmed another multithousand-dollar fine against an alleged pirate operator, this time in the neighborhood of $15,000.In November 2017, the Enforcement Bureau issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture against Juan Carlos Uribe of Van Nuys, Calif., for allegedly operating an unlicensed radio station on 101.5 MHz in the Los Angeles region.
Uribe wasn’t unaware of the allegations. In October 2016, field agents actually hand-delivered a note to Uribe — which he signed — alerting him that he had been found to be illegally operating an FM broadcast station on 101.5 MHz. A duplicate letter was sent via mail soon after and also signed for by Uribe.
Yet new complaints continued to roll in in the months following; this time regarding an unauthorized station at 95.1 MHz. The signals appeared to be coming from the same location in an identical format to the station that had been operating on 101.5 MHz. The FCC pointed again to Uribe.
That was confirmed in mid-December when an agent from the Los Angeles Office found that Uribe was operating a radio station on 95.1 MHz from the same location. After taking field strength measurements and again hand-delivering a Notice of Unlicensed Operation to him, Uribe turned off the station.
In Uribe’s case, the FCC had the authority to fine an operator $10,000 for running an unauthorized radio station for each day of operation. Seeing that Uribe had received repeated written warnings about the operation of the alleged station, the FCC said moved to add an additional $5,000 due to the “egregious nature” of the alleged violations.
In some cases, alleged operators submit detailed explanations to the FCC after they receive an NAL to clarify why a forfeiture should not be levied. In this case, the FCC said no response came from Uribe.
The commission said Uribe is now liable for the $15,000 forfeiture. He has 30 days to pay before the case is referred to the Department of Justice.