In years past, it has seemed like whenever the FCC shut down a buccaneer who had commandeered a chunk of FM spectrum without a license it would slam the allegedly guilty party with a $10K fine. That appears to be a rarity in 2011 – most of the time lately, the penalty has been increased significantly.
Take the case of Fritzner Lindor. He was caught operating in Orange Park FL on 94.7 MHz without a license. The referenced town is just south of Jacksonville. FCC agents were able to trace a signal to his residence and found a tree-mounted antenna in his yard that was attached to his residence with coaxial cable.
The agents picked up the station three days in a row beginning on 6/8/10, confronting Lindor on the 10th. He admitted he was aware is was not permitted to broadcast without a license. The FCC determined his violation was willful and repeated and took the standard $10K fine up to $15K.
The other case involved Judith V. Smith of Miami FL. She was running a station on 95.9 MHz that called itself “Gospel Reggae FM” with a website and mailing address to match.
Both the FCC’s 6/27/10 signal trace to an address in Miami and the mailing address of the business were in fact the address of Smith’s residence.
Smith refused to allow an inspection of the station when confronted by the FCC, which carries a fine of $7K, along with the $10K for the unlicensed operation. The FCC decided to jack up the $10K fine to $15K for a $22K total assessment.
Both findings are notices of apparent liability, and both individuals have the right to appeal.