The Federal Communications Commission is declaring war on pirates — of the radio variety.
The agency on Friday said it issued nine warnings to landowners in the Boston for hosting illegal radio broadcasts from their properties. The warnings come with a threat of fines exceeding $2 million if those broadcasts don’t cease.
Even in the era of streaming everything, pirate radio broadcasts, in which individuals or groups use radio airwaves approved for other uses for their own programming, continues to be an issue for the FCC. It’s not even the first instance in Boston. In 2018, the FCC worked with the U.S. Marshals and local police to seize broadcast equipment from two radio stations in Beantown. At the time, FCC said Boston, Miami, and New York represented the highest concentration of pirate radio activities.
The FCC said these broadcast interfere with the legitimate use of those radio airwaves.
“Property owners that continue to allow pirate radio operations on their properties can face serious consequences because these illegal operations can interfere with licensed broadcast signals and their ability to provide emergency alert system notifications,” said Loyaan A. Egal, chief of the enforcement bureau for the FCC.
The FCC is empowered by the PIRATE Act to go after radio broadcasters with fines of $115,802 a day or a maximum of $2.3 million. As with the prior bust, the FCC also has the authority to seize equipment.