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Alleged L.A. Pirate Handed $15,000 Fine

Possible repeat offender gets extra forfeiture tacked on

This article has been amended.

The Federal Communications Commission has notified a familiar face that his alleged operation of an unlicensed radio station was breaking the law. Now, that same operator has been slapped with a $15,000 Notice of Apparent Liability.

The L.A. office of the commission’s Enforcement Bureau has handed Juan Carlos Uribe of Van Nuys, Calif., the NAL for allegedly operating an unlicensed radio station on 101.5 MHz in this area of Los Angeles.

It was back in October 2016 that field agents literally hand-delivered a note to Uribe — which he then 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 later that month and also signed for by Uribe.

Yet in November and December of 2016, new complaints rolled in regarding an allegedly unauthorized station at 95.1 MHz from the same location in what the FCC said looked like an identical format to the station that previously operated on 101.5 MHz.

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.

The FCC has a strong arm when it comes to handing out fines for unauthorized radio station operation: under FCC Rules, it has the authority to fine an operator $10,000 for running an unauthorized radio station for each violation or day of operation.

Given the fact that Uribe received repeated written warnings that operation of an unlicensed station was illegal, the FCC said it would add an additional $5,000 due to the “egregious nature” of the alleged violations.

Uribe has 30 days to either pay the full amount or let the FCC know why the amount should be reduced or cancelled. To note: if Uribe claims an inability to pay, he must show documentation such as tax records or other financial statements that detail his current financial status.