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FCC Continues Pirate Crackdown Efforts

In wake of several large forfeitures, Enforcement Bureau continues to search for unlicensed operators

The Federal Communications Commission continues its efforts to crack down on unlicensed radio operators, especially in the wake of several large forfeitures.

Most recently, the FCC sent a Notice of Unlicensed Operation to Ernie Santiago of San Juan, Puerto Rico, after an agent in the Dallas Office of the Enforcement Bureau received a complaint of an unlicensed FM station. That station was allegedly operating on frequency 98.5 MHz. In March of this year, agents confirmed by direction-finding techniques that radio signals on that frequency were emanating from a property leased by Santiago. According to the property administrator, Santiago was the sole lessee of the property.

[Read: FCC Reaffirms $144,000 Action Against Alleged Pirate]

A similar notice was sent to an Acerome Jean-Charles of Boston. Agents from the Boston field office investigated a complaint of an unlicensed FM station operating on the frequency 106.3 MHz in this city. Through the investigation, the Boston office determined Jean-Charles was allegedly the operator of the radio station.

In both cases, agents measured the field strength of the signals and found both exceeded the maximum permitted level of 250 μV/m at 3 meters for nonlicensed devices. Each alleged operator has 10 days to respond with any evidence that they have authority to operate. From there, the FCC will take enforcement action to ensure compliance with FCC Rules.

[Read: FCC Stands Behind $15,000 Fine Against Alleged California Pirate]

The FCC recently reaffirmed the largest fine to date against an alleged pirate operator and property owner. That came in the form of a $144,344 penalty against Fabrice Polynice, a programming provider, and Harold and Veronise Sido, who own property in North Miami where the station’s transmission equipment was allegedly located.

The commission also recently reaffirmed a smaller but not insignificant fine of $15,000 against Juan Carlos Uribe of Van Nuys, Calif., for allegedly operating an unlicensed radio station on 101.5 MHz in the Los Angeles region.

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