Enforcement Action Database Cracks 1,000 Actions

Just caught up on the FCC’s last two months of activity. It’s been a busy winter: 274 enforcement actions for 2006 and counting.

This includes fines, or threats of fines, of $10,000 against the transmitter-hosts of both microstations in San Diego, though escalating the enforcement process up to that level of severity remains mostly outside the FCC’s standard protocol (in related news, the agency’s Inspector General is planning an audit of its regulatory fee-collection process, something not done since 1999). Read More

The State of Florida v. Rayon Payne, pt. ∞

Late last October, Rayon Payne was tooling along the highway in a friend’s car when the po-po rolled up and pulled them over. Both men were searched, and the cops found a loaded gun on Payne’s person. Payne was arrested and charged with carrying a concealed weapon. He wrote me shortly after it happened but I neglected to further publicize the incident – not like the man needs any more negative spin to his life’s story. Read More

State-Level Challenge to Florida’s Anti-Pirate Law?

The only attempt made so far to challenge Florida’s law making radio piracy a state felony involves a petition from the American Radio Relay League asking the FCC to issue a declaratory ruling nullifying the state law on jurisdictional grounds. Although the FCC has been historically very aggressive in asserting its jurisdictional superiority when it comes to regulation of the airwaves, in the cases of Florida and New Jersey it’s looked the other way – the ARRL’s petition has languished in the FCC’s circular file for 19 months now.

But Rayon Payne, of all people, thinks Florida’s law can be successfully contested at the state level. He recently called the Florida Secretary of State’s office and asked for a license to broadcast. Payne’s premise is, if the state of Florida wants to assert some sort of policing authority over use the public airwaves, then it should include a licensing power as a part of that authority. Read More

N$X: Seeking Direction

I had a nice long chat with Rayon Payne earlier this week. He’s been up to some interesting stuff.

Payne’s latest project is Myspace Radio. The plan involves establishing a database of music from which users will be able to access and assemble playlists for free. Said playlists can then be streamed from anywhere. Payne describes it as akin to Shoutcast, except you’re in complete control of the programming.

Users will be able to upload and request new audio files and share their playlists with others, but they will not be able to download files. The system will log everything that’s played, with the appropriate streaming royalty payments to follow. The entire service will be free; Payne hopes to generate revenue via advertising. Read More

FCC Still MIA on State Law Preemption

Jesse Walker recently wrote a nice treatise on the anti-pirate laws in Florida and New Jersey (albeit in dubious trappings, but you can read around that). Inspired, I decided to drop a line to the two Democrat FCC commissioners, Jonathan Adelstein and Michael Copps, both of whom are supposedly somewhat accessible via e-mail. They got this:

Since 2004 the state of Florida has asserted jurisdiction over the broadcast airwaves, something the FCC has historically worked very hard to keep within its exclusive domain. Last year, the state of New Jersey followed suit. Both states have essentially criminalized the act of unlicensed broadcasting, punishable as a felony involving jail sentences and multi-thousand dollar fines. Read More