FCC Upholds $15,000 Pirate Fine

Agency says Joshua McMurchie operated an unlicensed station in Prineville, Ore.
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The FCC upheld a $15,000 fine against Joshua McMurchie for operating a pirate station.

Following up on a complaint from a local broadcaster in 2011, the Portland, Ore. office of the Enforcement Bureau originally traced the signal on 97.9 MHz in Prineville, Ore. to McMurchie’s residence. A police officer accompanied the FCC agent to the address and the FCC agent inspected the pirate station and issued a Notice of Unlicensed Operation.

Following another complaint in 2012, an agent again traced the source of the signal to McMurchie’s residence and found a transmitter there. The commission said in its original account McMurchie admitted operating the pirate station and offered to surrender the transmitter.

The FCC originally levied the penalty last July, raising it from the base amount of $10,000 to $15,000 because the unlicensed transmissions had gone on for some time.

McMurchie hasn’t answered the original Notice of Apparent Liability, according to the commission this week.

That’s why the agency has now issued a Forfeiture Order for $15,000 and says McMurchie has 30 days to pay or the case may be referred to the Justice Department for collection.