FCC THWARTS RADIO PIRACY (AND YOU CAN, TOO!)
No swashbuckling experience is necessary to conquer radio piracy. If you’re new to the term, piracy in radio refers to signal interference by an unlicensed broadcaster. And if you’ve ever turned to your favorite radio (e.g. WBGO Jazz 88.3 FM!) only to hear what sounds like a different station, or an entirely different type of music, there is a chance you’ve picked up the signal of a "pirate" radio station.
Pirate radio stations vary in size from grassroots, one-person operations to something much more elaborate. No matter how large the operation, the FCC is committed to locating them and shutting them down. If you think you’re picking up a pirate station, here are the steps you should take:
Call the New York City Bureau and file a complaint
Contact the NYC Bureau of the FCC at 212-337-1865 and include as many details as you can about the station and broadcast. Include the name of the operator if possible. Usually, the station will identify itself in some way on the air, and occasionally will repeat contact information throughout the broadcast (e.g., "This is Underground Rock and Roll, from New York City!"). If you’re only hearing the station interference at specific times, please provide those details.
Submit an online complaint
Fill out this form:
Again, please provide as much detail as possible.
Once the FCC begins to look into the possible pirate station, they will not discuss the status of their enforcement action. The range of possible enforcement taken against a pirate radio station can range from fines to seizure of equipment and arrest. The good news is that with diligent reporting and awareness, radio listeners can nip pirate radio stations in the bud, and continue to listen to the stations that they enjoy! Visit www.fcc.gov for more information.