FCC's O'Rielly Calls For Crackdown On Pirate Radio
June 23, 2015 at 3:24 PM (PT)
At the NEW YORK STATE BROADCASTERS ASSOCIATION SUMMER Conference TODAY (6/23). FCC Commissioner MIKE O'RIELLY called for increased enforcement of the rules against pirate radio operators.
Noting the letter from NEW YORK-area legislators to the FCC asking for help in shutting down pirate stations, O'RIELLY called pirate radio "a criminal attack on the integrity of our airwaves, at a time when spectrum has become more scarce and precious than ever before."
"Without vigilant, proactive enforcement of every license," O'RIELLY added, "the value of our spectrum, one of the most treasured natural resources of the modern age, is irreparably degraded. And when the interference affects legitimate, licensed broadcasters, Americans can be deprived of the vital and potentially life-saving emergency alerts, weather updates, and news they need at critical moments. There can be no justification for the Commission continuing to look the other way with everything that is at stake here, and that is why I have called for a renewed focus on pirate radio enforcement along with consideration of potential private remedies to give licensees more tools to defend against interference."
O'RIELLY also discussed the possibility of putting building owners "on the hot seat for hosting pirate radio stations," likening pirate broadcasting to gambling, sweatshops, or drug activities. "I don’t want to go overboard because I strongly believe in property rights," he said, "but it seems like accepting a complete ignorance excuse is insufficient. Such an idea may require a change in law, and therefore subject to CONGRESS, but if it is something that may help the cause, I’m willing to assist you in that effort." He also said that Chairman TOM WHEELER "has finally seen the light and committed to step up enforcement against pirate radio operators in connection with the Commission’s initiative to reorganize the operations of FCC field offices."