The House Energy & Commerce Committee unanimously voted to pass the PIRATE Act (H.R. 5709) Thursday, and the move was lauded by several broadcast advocacy organizations, joining the numerous affirmations previously voiced about the bill.
In a statement, NAB Executive Vice President of Communications Dennis Wharton said, “NAB thanks the House Energy & Commerce Committee for advancing legislation that strengthens FCC resources in combatting illegal pirate radio operations. Reps. Lance, Tonko, Collins and their cosponsors are to be commended for addressing the unfortunate increase in pirate radio.”
Wharton also called the legislators to move forward. He said, “These stations not only interfere with licensed and legal broadcasts, but on multiple occasions have disrupted airline pilot and air traffic controller transmissions. NAB urges Congress to swiftly pass the PIRATE ACT.”
New York State Broadcasters Association President David Donovan thanked the congressmembers who were involved in the legislation in his own statement and added, “We urge members of the House of Representatives and the Senate to move forward with this essential legislation. Time is of the essence. The FCC must regain control of the nation’s airwaves.”
To emphasize his point, Donovan said, “The number of illegal AM and FM stations operating in the New York City metro area exceeds the number of stations licensed by the FCC. The FCC’s ability to police the airwaves has been severely compromised in a number of markets. The result is interference to the Emergency Alert System, interference to FAA airport communications systems, transmission of RF radiation at levels above government standards, and a complete disregard for all FCC and consumer protection laws. New enforcement tools are necessary to restore credibility to the FCC’s licensing system.”