FCC Seizes Pirate Radio Station Equipment

The Enforcement Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has recently stepped up its activities against operators of illegal radio stations, as evidenced by two separate instances involving the seizure of radio transmission equipment.

In New York, FCC agents and Deputy U.S. Marshalls seized equipment in Manhattan and the Bronx allegedly used by two separate pirate radio station operators to illegally broadcast programming on 94.5 and 94.9 MHz. The raids were conducted under warrants issued by the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, pursuant to FCC complaints and forfeiture orders.

Separately, in Boston, radio transmission equipment used by three pirate radio stations were seized under warrants issued by the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts. The pirate radio stations were operating on FM frequencies in Boston, Mattapan and Dorchester, as well as Everett and Brockton, despite multiple warnings issued by the FCC to the station operators to cease broadcasting operations.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts has reportedly executed eight separate forfeiture actions since 2011 against illegal radio stations operating in the Boston area.

The Communications Act of 1934 makes it unlawful to operate radio broadcasting equipment outside of prescribed limits without a license from the FCC, and authorizes the Commission to seize and forfeit any equipment used for such purposes.