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FCC Warns Operators to Halt Alleged Pirate Broadcasting

Radio operations in New York and New Jersey given 10 days to respond

A private citizen and a real estate agent were the latest individuals to be notified by the Federal Communications Commission’s Enforcement Bureau that their alleged illegal pirate radio operation must be shut down. 

In March 2022, Monel Meriland of Ivy Street in Newark, N.J., was investigated after a complaint was made about an unlicensed FM broadcast station operating on frequency 90.9 MHz. Agents from the New York Office used direction-finding techniques to determine that radio signals on that frequency were emanating from the Ivy Street property. 

That same month, the New York Office investigated a complaint about anther unlicensed FM station. Again using direction-finding techniques, the agents determined that radio signals on frequency 105.5 MHz were emanating from a property belonging to R&T Realty Associates Inc. on 41st Avenue in Queens, N.Y. 

In both of these cases, the FCC database shows no license had been issued for a radio broadcast station at either location.

[Related: “FCC Plans to Hire to Fight Pirate Radio“]

The Enforcement Bureau reminded the two entities in a Notice of Illegal Pirate Radio Broadcasting that radio broadcast stations operating on certain frequencies — including 90.9 and 105.5 MHz — must be properly licensed by the FCC. While FCC Rules do allow for exceptions for extremely low-powered devices, the agents determined that those exceptions do not apply in either of these cases. 

The bureau also notified Meriland and R&T that they may be fined up to $2 million if it is found that they willfully or knowingly allowed for an illegal pirate radio station to operate at their location.

[Related: “FCC Sends Pirate Radio Notices to Property Owners“]

This is not the first time in the last few months that agents traced signals of alleged pirate radio operations to property owners, including property owners in Baltimore as well as those in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Oregon.   

The bureau has given Meriland and R&T Associates 10 days to respond and to provide evidence that they are no longer operating an illegal station. The bureau also is asking those who own or manage one of these properties to identify any additional individuals who may have allegedly engaged in illegal pirate radio broadcasting.