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Guide

The FCC Enforcement Bureau: A Broadcaster's Guide

What We Do:

  • Resolve complaints, investigate and take or recommend enforcement action for violations of the Communications Act and/or Commission rules resulting in radio frequency interference.
  • Resolve complaints, investigate and take or recommend enforcement action for violations of the Emergency Alert System ("EAS") Rules.
  • Resolve complaints, investigate and take or recommend enforcement action for violations of the antenna structure registration, lighting and marking rules, including AM tower fencing.
  • Resolve complaints, investigate and take or recommend enforcement action for broadcast of indecent material.
  • Investigate and take enforcement action in cases of possible unauthorized license assignment and/or transfer of control.
  • Investigate and take enforcement action in cases of possible unauthorized construction and operation of broadcast facilities.
  • Conduct on-site inspections of broadcast facilities, the focus of which include compliance with the EAS requirements, antenna structure rules, AM fencing requirements, public inspection file and main studio rules, operating power requirements and rules regarding location of transmitting facilities.
  • Resolve complaints regarding violations of rules governing broadcast of telephone conversations, station-conducted contests and various other broadcast rules.
  • Serve as trial staff in formal hearings before an administrative law judge.

What We Do Not Do:

  • Enforce the Commission's rules in the context of renewal or other applications (involving the allocation of broadcast spectrum), or enforce the Commission's political programming, equal employment opportunity or cable/broadcast must-carry rules. The Media Bureau handles these issues.

Our Structure:

  • ยท Investigations & Hearings Division
    • Investigates and takes or recommends enforcement action, where appropriate, against broadcast licensees in cases involving non-technical violations of the Commission's rules such as broadcast indecency, unauthorized license assignment/transfer of control, noncommercial enhanced underwriting rules, broadcasts of telephone conversations and station-conducted contests.
    • Conducts, or assists with, FCC-initiated investigations involving possible violations of non-technical rules by broadcast licensees.
    • Serves as trial staff in formal hearings before an administrative law judge.
  • Spectrum Enforcement Division
    • Investigates and takes or recommends enforcement action, where appropriate, against broadcast licensees in cases involving violations of technical rules such as unauthorized construction and operation, EAS, tower lighting and marking, radio frequency interference, and excessive power.
  • 25 Field Offices
    • Conduct inspections and investigations of broadcast facilities.
    • Conduct or assist with FCC-initiated investigations of compliance with broadcast rules.
    • Take or recommend enforcement action, where appropriate.
    • Resolve, or assist with the resolution of interference complaints.

How Do I File A Complaint About:

  • Broadcast Interference
    • Broadcast stations that believe that they are experiencing interference from other stations and that such interference is the result of violations of a Commission rule, order or terms of a station authorization, may submit their complaints to: Federal Communications Commission, Enforcement Bureau, Spectrum Enforcement Division, 445 12th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20554.
    • Complaints should be in writing and should include as much of the following information as possible:
      • the call sign and address of the station experiencing the interference;
      • the telephone number of a contact person for the station;
      • the frequency on which the complaining station operates;
      • a detailed description of the nature of the interference, including the duration and frequency of the occurrence of interference;
      • the call sign and address of the station believed to be the source of the interference;
      • the frequency on which the alleged interfering station operates;
      • the provision of the Communications Act, Commission rule, order or station authorization believed to have been violated by the alleged source of the interference, and
      • any documentation supporting the alleged existence and cause of the interference.
  • Pirate Broadcasting
    • Information about or complaints about operation of unlicensed broadcast stations should be in writing. They may be sent to the Federal Communications Commission, Enforcement Bureau, Spectrum Enforcement Division, 445 12th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20554.
    • Complaints should include the name of the operator, if known, how the station identifies itself, station contact information (e.g., address, phone number) if available, time of operation, the location of the station, the operating frequency, and whether the station's operation is causing interference. Once an investigation starts we do not discuss the status of the enforcement action. The range of possible enforcement actions include monetary forfeiture, seizure of equipment, injunctive relief, and criminal arrest and/or fine. Some of these enforcement actions (e.g., seizure of equipment, injunctive relief and criminal prosecution) require coordination with the Department of Justice. Accordingly, the timing of these enforcement actions is not always within the FCC's control.
  • Miscellaneous Non-Technical Complaints
    • Complaints alleging violations of non-technical broadcast rules should be in writing and sent to the Federal Communications Commission, Enforcement Bureau, Investigations & Hearings Division, 445 12th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20554.
    • Complaints should include the name of the call sign and address of the station allegedly in violation, detailed facts regarding the nature of the violation, supporting documentation, and the name and address of the complainant.

Key People Who Handle Broadcast Enforcement:
 

Office of the Bureau Chief
Enforcement Bureau
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, SW - 3rd floor
Washington, DC 20554
Phone: (202) 418-7450
 
P. Michele Ellison, Bureau Chief
William Davenport, Acting Deputy Bureau Chief
Karen Onyeije, Associate Bureau Chief
Eloise Gore, Associate Bureau Chief
Priya Shrinivasan, Assistant Bureau Chief
Ben Bartolome, Special Counsel
 
Investigations & Hearings Division
Enforcement Bureau
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, SW - 3rd floor
Washington, DC 20554
Phone: (202) 418-1420
 
Terry Cavanaugh, Acting Chief
Jeffrey Gee, Deputy Chief
Kenneth M. Scheibel, Jr., Assistant Chief
Anjali K. Singh, Assistant Chief
Spectrum Enforcement Division
Enforcement Bureau
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, SW - 3rd floor
Washington, DC 20554
Phone: (202) 418-1160
 
John Poutasse, Acting Chief
Ricardo Durham, Senior Deputy Chief
JoAnn Lucanik, Deputy Chief
Neal McNeil, Assistant Chief - Engineering
Daudeline Meme, Assistant Chief
Pamera Hairston, Assistant Chief

 

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