Section 301 and 511 of the Communications Act requires an FCC license or authorization for the operation of a broadcast station. Unauthorized or “pirate” radio stations generally involve an individual operating an over-the-air radio station in the AM or FM frequency band without an FCC license that exceeds the unlicensed radiated emission limits found in part 15 of the Commission’s rules. On January 24, 2020, the Preventing Illegal Radio Abuse Through Enforcement Act (PIRATE Act) became law and was codified in Section 511 of the Communications Act. The PIRATE Act gives the FCC additional enforcement authority, including higher penalties against pirate radio broadcasters and any person who permits the operation of pirate radio broadcasting, of up to $100,000 per day per violation, up to a maximum of $2 million. In addition to tougher fines on violators, the law requires the FCC to conduct periodic enforcement sweeps, and grants the Commission authority to take enforcement action against landlords and property owners that knowingly permit illegal pirate radio activity on their properties.
In accordance with section 511(g) of the Act, the following database is provided to identify each entity that the Enforcement Bureau has issued an enforcement action against for pirate radio broadcasting.