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$15,000 Pirate Fine Escalated

FCC says Jose Alejandro Aguilar admitted operating an illegal station

A day after FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly called pirates broadcasters a “scourge,” the FCC escalated a $15,000 fine against Jose Alejandro Aguilar for operating a pirate radio station in Louisville, Ky.

The Enforcement Bureau’s Chicago Office first proposed the penalty against Aguilar in April 2014 for operating an unlicensed station on 87.5 and 99.5 MHz in Louisville.

Following up on a complaint, an Enforcement Bureau agent traced the unauthorized signals on both frequencies coming from a rooftop antenna of a commercial building in July 2013. The building owner told the FCC that the tenants who leased the space and ran the station were “Radio Pasion 316.”

Aguilar showed up while the agent was talking with the building owner, and admitted he operated the station without a license — twice — according to the bureau. The agent warned him to stop transmitting immediately.

He didn’t respond to the Notice of Apparent Liability, said the bureau in its decision, so the fine has now progressed to a forfeiture. “The fact that Mr. Aguilar continued to operate the radio station notwithstanding the warning demonstrates a deliberate disregard for the commission’s authority and its rules, warranting a significant penalty.”

Aguilar has 30 days to pay. If he doesn’t, the case may be turned over to the Justice Department for collection.

O’Rielly proposed that a law used to fight email spammers be modified to allow broadcasters to go after pirates directly, which may entail getting Congress involved.