Bay State Buccaneer Penalized For Pirate FM


Vasco Oburoni is the latest name to be inducted into the FCC’s Buccaneer Book.

Oburoni is the operator of an unlicensed radio station at 102.3 MHz in Worcester, Mass., and the Commission late last week slapped him with a proposed $15,000 fine for his “deliberate disregard” of previous warnings from the FCC’s Region One Enforcement Bureau.

RBR + TVBR OBSERVATION (full text below, for subscribers): What a knucklehead. Kudos to the agent working out of the Boston field office for kindly showing Mr. Oburoni how to obtain a license after expressing lack of knowledge while running an illegal operation on a first-adjacent signal that involved the biggest operator in the business — iHeart — and now Beasley.

Trouble for Mr. Oburoni started on April 21, 2015, when the Enforcement Bureau’s Boston field office received a complaint alleging that an unlicensed FM at 102.3 MHz was causing interference to Beasley’s Country WKLB-FM 102.5, a Boston-market station licensed to Waltham, Mass., licensed for city-grade coverage of Worcester.

Seven days later, two Boston-based agents used mobile direction-finding techniques to identify the source of the unlicensed FM signal. Where did it come from? An FM antenna mounted on the roof of Christian Praise International’s church.

On June 11, 2015, the agents returned and found the unlicensed FM to still be on the air; after confirming that the facility was not legal, the agents posted a Notice of Unlicensed Radio Operation on the door of the building and later mailed a copy to Mr. Oburoni, who had been identified as the operator and in a face-to-face meeting in July 2015 admitted to it.

Oburoni asked about how to obtain a license; the agent asked that he kindly cease operations, and showed him information on how to do so at the Media Bureau’s website.

On May 2, 2016, the unlicensed operation was again in operation. Because of this, the commission bumped up its standard $10,000 penalty.

Oburoni has 30 days to pay up.

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Adam R Jacobson is a veteran radio industry journalist and advertising industry analyst with general, multicultural and Hispanic market expertise. From 1996 to 2006 he served as an editor at Radio & Records.
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