It’s not all rosy in Miami Gardens, Fla., after the Federal Communications Commission fined an alleged pirate operator $15,000.
The Enforcement Bureau had previously warned Andrew O. Turner, resident of Miami Gardens, about the operation of a station on 95.9 MHz in Broward County. In response to a complaint in January 2015, agents from the bureau’s Miami Office used mobile direction-finding to locate the source of transmissions at a residential property. After taking field-strength measurements, they determined the transmissions exceeded limits for unlicensed operation under Part 15 of the rules.
While monitoring the transmissions on Jan. 26, agents heard the announcer identify the station as “BIG Station 95.9” and observed a vehicle registered to Turner parked in the residence’s driveway. According to an FCC summary, a coaxial cable connected to the antenna in the backyard was found, as was a large sign advertising a community event that stated “Tune in to 95.9” and “One Caribbean International.” State records list Andrew Turner as the registered agent and president of “One Caribbean International Inc.” and president of “WBIG International Solushuns Inc.,” which has an address similar to the property housing the unlicensed station.
Mobile direction-finding techniques on March 7 again sourced broadcasts to that property. The agents left a written notice of unlicensed operation, which directed Turner to cease operating the station and warned that continued unlicensed operations could result in enforcement action. The station continued to air, the FCC said. In August agents traced transmissions to a different residential property. The property owner told the agents she had allowed another woman to install radio equipment in a locked room. Agents issued two written notices of unlicensed operation, one to the property owner, the other to the woman installing the equipment and to “Andrew Turner/WBIG Station.”
Evidence mounted, according to the bureau, with a series of Web pages and Facebook postings linking Turner to operation of the station. In September agents traced transmissions at the original residential property.
As a result, the Enforcement Bureau found that Turner apparently willfully and repeatedly violated the Communications Act. The rules set a base forfeiture of $10,000 for operation without authorization, but the fact that Turner continued to operate an unlicensed station after being put on notice led the bureau to slap Turner with an additional $5,000. Turner has 30 days to submit payment or file a statement seeking reduction of the fine.