FCC busts a Bronx FM buccaneer


The FCC seems to be upping the ante in its battle against spectrum pirates operating in FM band without a license. The latest offender was operating in the reserved band in Bronx NY.

Recardo Millwood identified his 88.9 MHz operation as Radio Sela. FCC agents responding to a complaint on 10/6/10 traced a signal on that frequency to a location in the Bronx and spotted an antenna on an adjacent building. Millwood identified himself to the agents, and was verbally warned that the operation was illegal, with written follow-up coming the next day.

A repeat inspection 10/15/10 found the station in operation on the internet only.

However, on subsequent inspections, conducted 10/29/10 and 11/3/10, agents discovered that the station was back on 88.9 MHZ again, despite the warnings and the prior retreat to the internet.

The FCC noted that the normal fine for this infraction is $10K But then it added, “We find that Mr. Millwood’s continued operation of an unlicensed radio station on several different occasions after notice that such activity violated the Act and the Rules demonstrates a deliberate disregard for the Commission’s requirements. Thus, we find that an upward adjustment in the forfeiture amount of $10,000 is warranted.”

In fact, the FCC doubled the fine to $20,000. At this point, the assessment is in the form of a Notice of Apparent Liability.