FCC Fines Florida Pirates

All three operated illegal Florida stations, says agency
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The FCC levied a total of $55,000 in fines for three men it says operated pirate stations.

Michael Downer and Damian Allen operated an unauthorized station together on 101.MHz in Pompano Beach, Fla., according to the FCC, which traced the signal to an FM transmitting antenna located in the storage room of a commercial property. The property owner told agents he rented the space to Downer and Allen. The owner called Downer and handed the phone to an agent.

Shortly after Downer spoke to the agent, the other renter, Damian Allen, came and removed the equipment.

Enforcement Bureau agents matched the identity of both men to a station website: “nrgonlineradio.com 101.1 FM,” and three social networking sites.

The base fine for operating an unauthorized station is $10,000. However, the FCC proposed a $20,000 fine for Downer and Allen each because the commission had previously issued several Notices of Unlicensed Operation to both men for operating pirate stations on 102.1 MHz from other Florida locations. The fact that they continued “constitutes a deliberate disregard for the commission’s requirements,” noted the agency in its decision.

The agency warned the men further violations may subject them to “more severe enforcement action” such as higher fines, criminal prosecution and equipment seizure. Both Downer and Allen have 30 days to appeal or pay the penalty.

In the third case, the commission proposed a $15,000 fine against McArthur Bussey for operating a pirate station on 89.1 MHz in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The agents traced the signal to a Fort Lauderdale residence leased by Bussey.

The agents found a “Real Deal” Facebook ad for the illegal station and a photo that matched Bussey’s Florida driver’s license photo. The domain name for a website: www.891radio.net, was registered to Bussey’s residence, according to the agency.

Bussey’s fine, also, was over the base amount because the Miami Office of the Enforcement Bureau had previously issued a Notice of Unlicensed Operation to him for operating an unlicensed station on the same frequency from a different location.

Bussey, too, has 30 days to appeal or pay the fine.

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