PIRATE Act Clears House Committee, With Amendments

On July 12, the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved H.R. 5709, the Preventing Illegal Radio Abuse Through Enforcement Act (aka PIRATE Act) on a voice vote. This comes one month after a subcommittee signed off on it. There were some notable amendments offered and accepted by the Committee, sponsored by Reps. Chris Collins (R-NY) and Mike Doyle (D-PA), both of whom are cosponsors.

First, the number of enforcement sweeps of the top five markets identified by prevalence of unlicensed broadcast activity has been reduced from twice per year to once per year. However, six months after this annual sweep, the FCC will be required to conduct “monitoring sweeps” of target markets “to ascertain whether the pirate radio broadcasting identified by enforcement sweeps is continuing to broadcast and whether aditional pirate radio broadcasting is occurring.”

Rep. Doyle explained that this change was made so that anti-pirate enforcement would not unduly take time and resources away from “other critical missions” of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau and its field staff. Read More

Bad News (Double Dose)

The first is the FCC’s decision to set aside an earlier ruling that suspended approval for an Oregon commercial radio station to move closer to Seattle – a move which will force Mercer Island High School’s KMIH-FM off the air. The set-aside effectively puts the school’s station back in the gallows.

KMIH General Manager Nick DeVogel says, “This decision is ripe for reconsideration and appeal, and we implore the Commission to do just that.” Read More

Mercer Island High to Keep Radio Station

Slightly old news, but mention-worthy nonetheless: the FCC last week reversed its decision allowing a commercial station to move its transmitter to a location that would force an Oregon high school to close down its Class D (30 watt) FM outlet. The short announcement did not specify a reason, but it’s not a difficult one to discern (read: negative publicity for an already-maligned agency). KMIH-FM is not out of the clear just yet, though – the FCC always has the authority to change its mind once again if it so chooses. Here’s to hoping it doesn’t get stupid (again).