Tuesday, February 11, 2020

New Law Adds Teeth to Pirate Radio Crackdown

The FCC doesn't do much enforcement on the amateur bands, but it has been cracking down heavily on unlicensed, or "pirate," broadcasters in the commercial AM and FM bands. Now, a new law authorizes higher fines and swifter action against unlicensed broadcasters.
The "Preventing Illegal Radio Abuse Through Enforcement," or PIRATE, Act, was signed into law in late January. According to the ARRL Letter, the new law increases maximum fines to $100,000 per day of violation, up to a maximum of $2 million. It also allows the FCC to skip issuing a Notice of Unlicensed Operation and go directly to a Notice of Apparent Liability, in which the specifics of a proposed fine are detailed. Authorized unlicensed low-power broadcasting under Part 15 rules (e.g., carrier current) is exempted from the new law.