FCC Enforcement: On the Wane?

Just got the Enforcement Action Database caught up for the year, and the numbers show that FCC field activity is running at the lowest level it’s been since 2005. Just 173 enforcement actions to date, as opposed to ~260 at this time last year.

There was a similar dip in the years afer the FCC first proposed the creation of LPFM, and with LPFM’s second wave in the works it’s enticing to see a correlation, but this time around I’m more inclined to believe it has to do with changing political priorities regarding enforcement policy (pirates take a back seat to cell-phone jammers, for example) coupled with the effects of austerity on federal government services more broadly. Read More

FCC Enforcement: Questionably Redundant and Retributive

Two-thirds of 2012 is in the can, and the FCC seems to be adhering to its “new normal” when it comes to pirate radio enforcement. Field agents have conducted 183 enforcement actions as of the end of August – this is up from the 132 actions logged by this time a year ago, but well off the year-over-year record-breaking enforcement pace set between 2006 and 2010.

The FCC’s been involved in anti-pirate enforcement activity in 15 states and Puerto Rico so far this year, as opposed to more than two dozen states by this point in 2011. The hottest spots continue to be the New York metropolitan area as well as the state of Florida more generally. Read More

FCC Enforcement: Check, Please!

It’s been an active spring for field agents in the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau, but the agency’s pirate-hunting fervor still seems tempered. The present pace of this year’s activity mirrors 2011 – good news of a sort, because last year saw a massive drop-off in enforcement action.

That said, about four dozen pirate stations in 13 states (and Puerto Rico) have had some sort of contact with the federales this year. Although the FCC’s enforcement protocol remains firmly in the administrative realm, there have been some interesting developments this year. Read More

Anti-Pirate Enforcement Plummets in 2011

The austerity gripping the United States caught up with the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau last year, as field activity against unlicensed broadcasters dropped dramatically – to a level not seen in six years.

eadbyyearFrom a record high of 447 enforcement actions clocked in 2009 and 2010, field agents executed just 184 in 2011, against fewer than 100 stations total. Massive drops were seen in the number of station-visits and warning letters issued. Read More

FCC Enforcement: Shortwave on Radar?

The Enforcement Action Database continues to show a relatively lackadaisical year of pirate-hunting shaping up: just 35 actions through mid-April.

Should the trend continue, enforcement activity against unlicensed broadcasters may approach levels not seen since 2005-06, the start of the FCC’s post-LPFM station-hunting campaign. This would signify a significant shift and could be indicative of strategic revisions involving the agency’s spectrum enforcement priorities more generally. Read More