One station, two pirates, two upward-adjusted fines


Two FM radio operators who were working their trade on 99.7 MHz in the Boston market without a license were collared by the FCC. Responding to the complaint from a licensed broadcaster, FCC agents first took action on 10/5/09, only to find the station back on the air several months later.

The station was traced to the Mattapan neighborhood, and was determined to be under the operation of Robert Brown and Lloyd Morris.

The FCC wrote, “Both men admitted to being the owners and operators of the station. The agents handed Morris a NOUO, which warned that operation of the unlicensed radio station on 99.7 MHz violated section 301 of the Act. Furthermore, the NOUO outlined the potential penalties for such a violation, including seizure of the equipment, fines, and imprisonment. The NOUO also directed Morris to terminate operation of the unlicensed station immediately. Finally, the agents explained verbally both to Morris and Brown the penalties associated with continued operation of an unlicensed station. Morris and Brown agreed to shut off the transmitter. When the agents left the scene, they confirmed that the station was off the air.”

But on 2/11/10, the station was back on the air, originating from the same location.

Usually one pirate station pulls a fine of $10K for unauthorized operation. But this time, the FCC hit each of the operators with a fine adjusted upwards to $15K for returning to the air after they had been warned off. So in this case, the pirate operation is paying $30K total.