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FCC Relents on Big Pirate Fine

Cuts penalty for Dexter Blake by $8,300 for inability to pay

The FCC cut a pirate fine by $8,300.

The Enforcement Bureau originally proposed a $10,000 penalty against Dexter Blake for operating an unauthorized station on 101.5 MHz in Mount Vernon, N.Y. in 2009.

Blake didn’t respond, so the penalty rose to the level of forfeiture.

Eventually, he did respond and admitted he operated the unlicensed station. But Blake told the commission the fine should be cancelled because the person he bought the transmitting equipment from didn’t tell him he needed an FCC license. This doesn’t usually persuade the commission, which the agency calls “ignorance of the law.” Relying on erroneous information doesn’t justify reducing the penalty in this case, the agency said in its decision Thursday.

However, Blake also claimed financial hardship. After looking over the paperwork, the agency agreed and cut the fine to $1,700 with a warning that future similar violations may result in “significantly higher” penalties next time.

Payment is due within 30 days.