FCC catches up to celebrated Florida pirate


Broadcasting PirateAl Knighten of Fort Myers FL has become something of a celebrity in low power community radio circles. However, police shut down his unlicensed FM last December and now the FCC has followed up with a fine.

Knighten had been using 107.5 MHz to transmit his Dunbar Community Radio Service. He believed he was fulfilling a need in the community within the greater Fort Myers community. However, he lacked the necessary FCC license to operate the station.

The FCC said its agents traced a signal on the frequency to his residence, complete with transmitting antenna and tower, on 12/1/11 and again on 12/9/11. Local law enforcement conducted a search, and determined that Knighten was both running the station and personally broadcasting over it.

The FCC also found an interview with Knighten on the internet during the course of which he encouraged listeners to tune in and admitted to his unlicensed status.

The standard fine for this offense is $10K. The FCC decided to adjust it upward. The FCC explained, “The record evidence in this case shows that Mr. Knighten wanted to obtain a license for his station and made public statements to that effect and, therefore, knew that his station was operating on an unlicensed basis.14 In spite of this knowledge, Mr. Knighten operated and publicly promoted the unlicensed station for over a month, in deliberate disregard for the Act and the Commission’s requirements. Thus, we find that an additional upward adjustment of $5,000 in the forfeiture amount is warranted.”