FCC Enforcement Plateau Ahoy?

The FCC’s trend of hunting unlicensed broadcasters may be slowing down.

The number of enforcement actions against unlicensed broadcasters fell off dramatically during 2010 – from a record single-month high of 75 in April to just 9 (known so far) in November. May and June represented pivotal months in this decline.

Barring a massive run of enforcement actions over the next two weeks, 2010 will represent the first cumulative decrease in the FCC’s pirate-hunting efforts after four consecutive record-breaking years. Read More

Enforcement Action Update: East Coast Booming

The Enforcement Action Database is up-to-date again; so far for the year the FCC is running at blatant record pace with regard to enforcement actions – 235 as of mid-May, while 2009 saw a cumulative enforcement action total of 445. If this pace continues, 2010 may be the first year in which the FCC cracks 500 enforcement actions.

Taking a closer look at the data, the methodology of field enforcement remains the same – lots and lots of station-visits and threatening letters, but nothing in the way of raids and seizures, and very little in the way of monetary penalties. The practice of stats-enforcement is also still in full effect; for example, a whopping four warning letters were sent to different individuals in two states for the same unlicensed FM station in Brockton, Massachusetts. Read More

War on Pirates in 2009: (Paper) Fur Flies Furiously

For the ninth year in a row, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau has broken its record for the number of enforcement actions taken against unlicensed broadcasters in any given calendar year. 429 enforcement actions spanning 22 states have been catalogued; there are likely to be some stragglers into the database but 2009 goes into the books as the year of the one-armed paper-hanger.

ead09statesThe numbers themselves are relatively unsurprising. Enforcement actions in 2009 were more geographically-concentrated (Florida, New York and New Jersey accounted for nearly 63% of all enforcement actions), but unlicensed broadcast activity was reported coast-to-coast. Read More

Enforcement Action Update: Paper Still Beats Rock, Scissors

I caught up on the FCC’s enforcement actions against unlicensed broadcasters this weekend. The summer’s been kind of slow for field agents, though it doesn’t mean they’re not active: enforcement activity has been reported in 17 states this year, and stations both “new” and old are getting dimed.

eadbyactionAs you can see from the graph at right, the majority of enforcement actions continue to be administrative: of all the enforcement activity conducted by the FCC against pirate broadcasters since 1997, fully 82% have led to nothing stronger than a visit or warning-via-certified letter. Read More

Enforcement Action Database Update

As part of a long-standing effort to get the legacy-projects of the site up to speed before delving into the dissertation, I’ve compiled the “final” statistics for the FCC’s enforcement actions in 2008 and brought the Enforcement Action Database up to-date for this year.

ead09statesUnfortunately, the agency just missed hitting the 400 mark with enforcement actions last year – though due to the various methods by which the Enforcement Bureau inflates its enforcement statistics, it’s safe to say that most likely fewer than 200 stations were actually “dimed” by the agency in some way last year. Read More