Wheeler to Float Going After Worst Pirates


NAB-WheelerA House Telecom Subcommittee plans to hold an FCC oversight hearing today.

While many of the issues on-tap concern television, one radio item stands out.

Look for FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to propose a smarter way to combat pirate radio.

He intends to tell the lawmakers the commission will shift from a “whack-a-mole” enforcement approach to a smarter one — focusing on the worst offenders.

That means going after repeat offenders, and especially those who operate at high power, according to prepared testimony.



  1. One problem yet to be addressed by the FCC is the illegal sale and importing of FM transmitters on venues such as ebay and Amazon. There’s already regulations on the books, Title 47 C.F. R. Section 2.803(a)(1) and Title 47 C.F.R Section 302(a), which would make it more difficult for these operators to obtain transmitters to create these stations in the first place. The current FCC action is nothing more than taking an aspirin for a headache, it’s masking the effect and not taking any action against the cause.

    It’s agreed that pirate broadcasters create interference to licensed spectrum users. The only problem I see is that educational institutions and radio enthusiasts that use legal, license free Part 15 transmitters had been unfairly targeted by field agents who are a bit “overzealous,” to put it politely. I know of one gent personally, a licensed amateur operator, who was harassed for using an FCC Part 15 certified AM transmitter which was obtained directly from the manufacturer and wasn’t modified in any way. It’s hard to imagine that a field agent will harass somebody legally using less than one-tenth of a watt on AM while pirates using tens or hundreds of watts on FM go unchallenged.

    Bill DeFelice

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