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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Three NYC-area microcasters get FCC visits, fines

The Federal Communications Commission fined two New York-area microcasters, and warned another in the first days of November.

First, on Nov. 3 the FCC sent a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture ("NAL") and $10,000 fine to Kacy R. Rankine who had been operating "Roadblock Radio" at 90.1-FM in Newark, New Jersey. Rankine had been sending signals from an "antenna mounted on a high pole at the back of The Hut Nite Club ('The Hut'), 373 South Orange Avenue, Newark, NJ 07103," according to the FCC. "The agents traced an antenna coaxial cable to a hole in the back wall of the premises. The agents also observed a sign posted on the storefront that read 'The Hut - For All Occasions Call 973-374-5360.' While monitoring 90.1 MHz, the agents also heard the on-air disc jockeys ("DJs") identify the station as 'Roadblock Radio.'"

Then, on Nov. 8 the agency sent a NAL and $10,000 fine to Elroy Simpson for "operating an unlicensed radio transmitter on the frequency 102.3 MHz in Brooklyn, NY...[from] an apartment building at 395 Ocean Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, 11226." Simpson had also been heard transmitting by FCC officials on January 12, 2006, May 6, 2006, July 15, 2006, and July 20, 2006.

The next day, the New York office of the FCC sent a first letter to an unnamed person at 2714 Avenue D, Brooklyn, NY 11226. "[The NY FCC office] received information that an unlicensed broadcast radio station on 103.1 MHz was allegedly operating in Brooklyn, NY," the FCC reports. "On October 23, 2006, agents from this office confirmed by direction finding techniques that radio signals on frequency 103.1 MHz were emanating from the basement of 2714 Avenue D, Brooklyn, NY 11226."

Typically, the FCC gets a report of unlicensed activity, and investigates. If they hear anything, they may send a warning letter, or they may do some more investigating. They may send a letter first to the occupant, and then to the landlord. After awhile, they may show up and attempt to take the equipment, though they never show up with a warrant for a first visit. Usually, they'll send the $10,000 fine letter, and then, if the microcasting continues, bring out the SWAT teams. (In New York, SWAT teams haven't been used since that boat in the 1980s.)

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