The ongoing crackdown on pirate radio has resulted in another fine against an alleged unlicensed operator. The Federal Communications Commission has proposed a $15,000 fine against a Van Nuys, CA man who it says ignored repeated warnings and kept his pirate station on the air.
According to the Enforcement Bureau, Juan Carlos Uribe was behind a station operating at 101.5 FM in the Los Angeles suburb as far back as Oct. 2016 when it received the first complaint about the station. Field agents tracked the signal back to a strip mall on Van Nuys Boulevard. They eventually caught up with Uribe and hand-delivered a written warning. But the pirate station remained on the air, even moving to 95.1 FM which field agents again tracked to the same strip mall. Uribe eventually turned off the station during a Dec. 2016 visit by agents.
In issuing the proposed fine, the Bureau regional director Lark Hadley said Uribe “willfully violated” FCC rules since he continued his operation of an unlicensed radio station even though he was “fully aware” that doing so violated federal law. “As the Commission has stated many times before, enforcement action in this area is critical because unlicensed radio stations undermine the Commission’s efforts to manage radio spectrum and can cause interference to licensed communications, including authorized broadcasts and public safety transmissions,” Hadley writes in the notice. “Moreover, unlicensed radio stations do not broadcast Emergency Alert Service (EAS) messages, and thus create a public safety hazard for their listeners.” Uribe will now have 30 days to pay or dispute the fine—or make a case to the FCC for why it should be reduced.
It’s the second pirate radio fine issued in the past two months. The FCC ordered an Alabama man to pay a $15,000 fine for operating a pirate radio station in Guntersville, AL. The FCC also agreed last month to cut the size of a fine an Irvington, NJ pirate faced to $3,800, down from its original $15,000, after he was able to show he didn’t have the ability to pay the full amount.
More Pirate Warnings Issued
While the latest fine has come on the West Coast, the FCC’s pirate hunt has mainly centered on the East Coast and that’s where nearly three dozen new warnings have gone out in recent weeks. In some cases it’s to individuals the Enforcement Bureau suspects of being behind the stations. In other situations, warnings have gone out to property owners and businesses that may be turning a blind eye to the illegal station’s operation.
In Florida, the FCC has issued warnings to Rose Monique Almonor for an unlicensed station at 98.5 FM in Pompano Beach. In Miami, warnings have gone to Vilnord Simon for a station at 103.1 and to Alejandrino Ramos for one at 93.3 FM. Similar warnings have been handed to Sylvio Pierre for a pirate station at 104.7 in Delray Beach and to Jocelyn Joseph for one at 90.5 in Vero Beach. In Homestead, Adner and Carlie Joseph received a warning for a pirate station at 92.7.
Several businesses have also been put on warning for their alleged role in the operations of an unlicensed station. That includes warnings that were sent to Palm Beach Rentals for a pirate station at 97.1 in Riviera Beach; to Bay Ridge Parkway for one at 92.5 FM in Pompano Beach; to Hollywood Cambridge Partners for a pirate station at 91.7 FM in Hollywood; to Wanick Street Fleur and Rose Street Fleur for an unlicensed station at 101.1 in North Miami; and to Legenz Tattoo and Smoke Shop in Vero Beach for its connection to a pirate station at 90.5 FM.
In New York, FCC field agents were again kept busy in the boroughs of the New York City market. Warnings went out to Victor Miller for his role in a pirate station at 90.1 FM in Bronx and to John Pierre for a pirate station at 93.7 in Brooklyn. Meanwhile in Queens, Migui Mora got a warning for an unlicensed station at 91.3 while Efrain Lanchi Ortega got one for a pirate station at 95.9 FM. A warning also went out to N12 Realty in tony Great Neck, NY for its role in a pirate station operating at 90.1 FM from a property the company owns in Newark, NJ.
More than a half dozen New Jersey addresses have also been on the receiving end of warning letters as part of a crackdown in the pirate radio hotbed of Orange, NJ. The FCC has sent warnings to Nestor Sanango for a station at 91.7, to Mackinson Desna for a station at 88.7, to Kacy Rankine for a station at 90.1, to Chandra Paul Arjun for one at 95.1, to Derrick Powell for an unlicensed station at 99.9, to Oakwood Avenue Properties for a station at 91.7, and to Sanjiv Jain who the FCC said owns a property where unlicensed stations operating at 88.7, 96.9 and 107.7 FM were broadcast from.
The Enforcement Bureau also stepped up its efforts in Connecticut in recent weeks. Pirate warning letters went out to Oraine Emmis in connection with a pirate station at 93.3 FM in Trumball. Roberta Davis received a warning for an unlicensed station at 106.5 FM in Stamford, while Tamara Jackson got one for a pirate station at 93.3 FM in Hartford. Similar warnings went out to two people in Bridgeport—Darnett Daniels for a station at 106.5 FM and Tashai Martin Foster for one at 93.3 FM. A warning was also issued to Shanekan Abdul Abullateef for a part in the pirate station broadcasting at 106.3 FM in Waterbury. And Pastor Nana Frimpong of Power Tabernacle Ministries in East Hartford received a warning for a pirate station at 107.5 FM.
Across the state line in Massachusetts more warnings have also been issued. Those recipients included Ignace Jean-Charles for a pirate station at 106.3 FM in Boston. David Cange got one for a pirate station at 107.5 FM in Dorchester. And Wilmeack Pierre received warning in connection with an unlicensed station at 88.5 FM in Mattapan.
And finally, in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains one pirate showed the problem isn’t just in the big cities. The FCC has issued a warning against Ray Daniels’ World Hype Radio for an unlicensed station at 100.9 FM in Stroudsburg, PA.
But illustrating the hunt for unlicensed operators can be complicated and agents can be steered down wrong trails, the FCC has rescinded a warning it earlier sent to a Bridgeport, CT women. The FCC told Shaneka Abudul-Lateef that a warning it mailed to her had been set “in error” and that the agency’s “investigation is closed.”