FCC’s Boston buccaneer bills will stick


Broadcasting PirateAn unusual FCC FM bandit case met with a novel response by the two bandits hit with the fines – and as is usually the case, the FCC is sticking by its assessment.

The radio station was operating without a license in Boston on 99.7 MHz, not a good state of affairs for properly-licensed Classical outlet WCRB-FM, licensed to operate on 99.5 MHz out of Lowell MA.

It went by the name “Datz Hits Radio” and was located in the market’s Mattapan neighborhood. FCC agents discovered it was operated by a pair of pirates – Lloyd Morris and Robert Brown.

What was unusual about the FCC fine is that it went ahead and gave one to each individual. It found cause to bump each one up from the standard $10K to $15K, bringing in $30K total in revenue for Uncle Sam. This is triple the average pirate levy, which often tops out at $10K total.

The pirates did not respond to the FCC’s notice of apparent liability, at least not in a timely manner. They did get around to responding, saying they were late because they lacked “…proper advice on actions to take and how to file a response.” They also said the fine was unwarranted on the grounds that they were providing a “cultural listening experience” for the local Caribbean community.

The FCC responded by noting that the duo offered no defense that would have gotten them out of the fine, so it didn’t matter if their response was on time or tardy. As to providing a cultural listening experience, the FCC said that was fine – but if they wish to do so over the 99.7 MHz frequency, they need a license.