FCC to Congress on Pirate Radio: We Got Nothin’

With little fanfare, the FCC has replied to the Congressional delegations of New York and New Jersey, who are demanding that the agency do something about the proliferation of unlicenesed broadcasters in the New York metropolitan area. At last count, at least three dozen stations are operating in the borough of Brooklyn alone; if you extrapolate that across the five boroughs and add in cities on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River, it’s not inconceivable to estimate that as many as 100 pirate stations may be on the air here.

The rising tide of unlicensed broadcast activity in the NYC area — a trend that is several years old now — is exacerbated by the FCC’s utter lack of resources to deal with the issue. Just last month the agency announced a major restructuring of its field enforcement resources, which will result in a net diminution of boots on the ground across the country. In the NYC metroplex, the number of field agents is being increased by one, from four to five people. Although they will be ostensibly be backed up by one of two flying squads of roving agents who will travel the country to enforcement hot-spots (this includes dealing with many issues other than unlicensed broadcasting), it remains to be seen whether this will meaningfully improve the FCC’s overall enforcement abilities. Read More

Itching for a Fight

Rumors of the demise of United Patriot Radio have proven to be false; whether or not this is a good thing, only time will tell.

United Patriot Radio is a shortwave pirate broadcasting from somewhere in Pulaski County, Kentucky. Run by a self-described militiaman named Steve Anderson (no relation), UPR originally came to life as Kentucky State Militia Radio (KSMR) in March, 2000, relaying militia-related news and advocating resistance to further encroachment by the Federal government on the lives of America’s citizenry.

Broadcasting on the upper sideband of 3260 kHz with a handful of watts and a homemade antenna, KSMR caused a small stir in the shortwave pirate community: never before had a clandestine station targeting the United States government actually broadcast from within its own borders.

But, as more and more people tuned in KSMR, more and more began not to like what they heard. Read More