I recently got an e-mail from Rayon Payne (aka NSX), who made U.S. pirate radio history in 2003 by becoming the first person to serve time behind bars on a federal criminal conviction for unlicensed broadcasting. He just got out of jail in July. We ended up talking for nearly two hours:
The trend in Enforcement Bureau statistics over the last year suggests the agency is doing a better job of following up on pirate radio complaints, but still lacks the ability to actively shut stations down.
This year field agents have become much more consistent about following through with the first few steps of the enforcement protocol. Whereas it used to be months (if not years) between, say, a station visit and a warning letter (or two), field agents are pretty uniformly following up on initial visits with a warning letter within a month or two of first contact.
Two men were arrested on the last day of June for running unlicensed stations in Broward County, Florida. They’re being charged with felonies under a new state law and face up to five years in prison. A pirate-busting sheriff’s detective seems pleased with his handiwork, but it’s been nearly a year since the law went on the books and this is the first action to speak of. Signal Finder, those pirate-hunters for hire – are not making out like they’d hoped.
A pending petition from the American Radio Relay League to the FCC, which asks the agency to declare the Florida law null and void (by federal preemption) may not be ruled on for several more months. Perhaps the state will rush its prosecution in hopes of beating the FCC to a resolution. The south Florida scene has certainly transcended microbroadcasting, sounding like a little slice of London – if not so much on the air then in the modus operandi.
Bob Noxious has two brass ones: after a scant two months on the air and scads of publicity to show for it, the FCC showed up the day before April Fool’s and told him to shut up. He has complied – for now –
Although we will have to endure a short time of static on the radio, we won’t be silenced for long. Thanks to modern technology…when the PIRATE RADIO NETWORK returns, [the station] will be broadcast from MULTIPLE transmitters in numerous locations throughout the area. Not only will that expand the listening area, but it will be with a much crisper and cleaner signal. Lets see how many transmitters the F.C.C. can shut down at one time!
Air Jesus: With The Evangelical Air Force – from Media Transparency. Forget not, most translator-mongers are christian soldiers. Also see Bush Picks New FCC Chairman, Conservatives Hail Decision.