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Feds Seize Pirate Gear in Boston

DOJ, FCC acted on complaints about interference from Logan Airport, licensed broadcaster

Federal officials seized radio transmission equipment of a pirate radio station in Boston and are prosecuting the operators.

That’s after the FCC had warned the operators of “Datz Hits Radio 99.7” they were operating illegally and asked them to go off the air.

U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz and FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Michele Ellison announced the action this week.

They said the case began when federal officials received complaints about interference to a licensed radio station; the Federal Aviation Administration also had complained of interference with radio communications at Logan Airport. The alleged pirates were not named in the announcement.

Federal officials executed a search warrant on May 13; they found the illegal station had moved to another address in Boston after receiving the FCC warning. The feds took the equipment.

“The operation of unlicensed broadcast stations can cause interference to other licensed broadcasters and in some circumstances can endanger public safety,” Ellison stated.

“This is an important issue for licensed broadcasters and for the public in general, as both groups rely on the vigilance of the FCC to keep the airwaves free of interference. This enforcement action reflects our continued commitment to that objective.”

Ortiz’ Civil Division of the DOJ’s Massachusetts office is prosecuting the case; the next step is a forfeiture action, so the feds can keep the equipment.