Thursday, March 31, 2016

FCC “Pirate” Advisory Flawed

The following is from a post by Bob Felmly  aka Mram1500 at, it is a copy of his own response to Bill. Baker of ISS in relation to an article about the FCC advisory that had been published in the Information Station Specialist news letter...


FCC “Pirate” Advisory Flawed

 The FCC has launched a campaign asking the public to turn in Pirate radio stations.  Included in their information are handy resources, which can be used to determine if a station is licensed, or not.  At least two states have enacted laws against unlicensed radio stations.

 The Association of Low Power Broadcasters is troubled by this action as license free, low power broadcasting is permitted by FCC Part 15 rules in the AM, FM, Short Wave and Long Wave frequency bands.

 Legal Part 15 stations will not appear as licensed stations in the handy resources provided.  The general public and local authorities will likely consider legal Part 15 stations as Pirate stations.
With a zero tolerance, strong-arm tactic applied by this action, legal Part 15 stations will be considered guilty without due process.  They will be subject to stress and humiliation, as they are held high as examples until the situation has been sorted out.  Defending ones self in a court of law will likely be an expensive task.

 With regard to legal Part 15 stations, the ALPB feels the FCC should first educate the general public and local authorities called upon to assist this with this enforcement action.  Hopefully this will reduce the number of legal Part 15 stations snared by the dragnet.


Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Part 15 distiction and the battle against piracy

A new FCC ENFORCEMENT ADVISORY has been issued today, and brought to attention of part 15 operators thanks to Bill Defelice of
DA 16-159 March 1, 2016, Enforcement Advisory No. 2016-02..


The two page public document doesn't really present any new information, it's more a re-emphasis of the FCC's stance against pirates, and as part of the current increase of battle against pirates, the FCC has sent this advisory out to the following groups and organizations:
"United States Conference of Mayors, National Association of Chiefs of Police, National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts, National Association of Residential Property Managers, American Association of Advertising Agencies, National Public Safety Telecommunications Council, National Association of Attorneys General, American Advertising Federation, National Association of Realtors, National Property Management Association, and the Rental Property Owners Association."

Of particular note is that the document also provides a distinction between the legal part 15 broadcasters and illegal pirates, on page 1 (excerpts):

Federal law prohibits operating radio broadcasting equipment in most cases without an FCC license.. ..This prohibition does not discriminate by size of operations, applying equally to the rebellious high school kid operating a radio station from his bedroom as it does to slick and sophisticated high-powered illegal broadcast operations...  ..Thus, in order to use or operate a radio station, the Communications Act requires that you first obtain a license from the FCC.2
..There are certain limited exceptions. For example, the Commission has provided authorization by rule to operators of CB radio, radio control stations, and some domestic ship and aircraft radios. In addition, the Commission has
authorized the operation of certain low power radios pursuant to Part 15 of the Commission's Rules. As a result, operators of these radio facilities are not required to have individual licenses. However, these operators are required to operate their stations in a manner consistent with the Commission's operational and technical rules for those services..."

Evidently, some feel the distinction is not being emphasized enough, and maybe it's not, after all the section which clearly points out that part 15 stations are legally operating entities, and do not fall under the category of pirates, is written in smaller print..
But the acknowledgement is at least there; part 15 broadcasting is legal, and that's a good thing.

More about this story in Radio World: However, the writer of that article completely omits the part about part 15 in his reporting.. But I was sure to point it out in the user comments..

I was surprised when I received this email:
It was enthusing getting the email, and his going back to "tweak" the article was an honorable gesture, but the providing the link to the famed "200 foot" comment, was, unfortunately a bit of a letdown.. But at least legal part 15 was acknowledged, as follows...
"[What forms of unlicensed operation are legal on the AM and FM bands? Read the FCC language on that here.] "

For more about the 200 foot, see the previous post here:

Be sure to read an excellent article concerning this same topic found in another Radio World issue from June 2015:
Distinguish Pirates From Part 15 Operators