The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed the the Preventing Illegal Use of Radio Through Enforcement Act (H.R. 5709) Monday.
The PIRATE Act’s passage was lauded by industry groups that have cheered the legislation’s progress since its introduction, including the National Association of Broadcasters and the New York State Broadcasters Association.
In response to the news, NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith released a statement thanking the representatives for their support and urging the Senate to take up the bill quickly so that the “tough new enforcement measures” can be enacted. He emphasized the challenges radio pirate broadcasters pose to the public: “These unlicensed and illegal stations interfere with licensed radio broadcasts, threaten public safety and disrupt communications between airline pilots and air traffic controllers.”
Another vocal and repeated supporter, New York State Broadcasters Association President David Donovan, released his own congratulatory statement, saying “Passing the bill constitutes a milestone in the effort to eliminate pirate stations.” He also called on senators to vote on the legislation speedily because the pirate broadcaster “problem is spreading. The FCC must regain control over the radio spectrum. Time is of the essence.”
As previously reported, the PIRATE Act proposes to hike the fine for violations to as much as $100,000 per day — a significant increase from the current maximum daily penalty of about $19,200 — and a maximum fine of $2 million.