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Congress Explores Tools for Shutting Pirate Radio

Boosting FCC fines to as much as $2 million, penalizing building owners and stepping up raids in major Radio markets are among the options Congress is considering for combating illegal broadcast operations under legislation unveiled last week in a House Telecommunications Subcommittee hearing. The measures are intended to protect against interference with licensed broadcasters, the Emergency Alert System and airport flight controls, as well as radiation exposure to nearby residents and workers.

The bipartisan PIRATE Act, co-authored by Reps. Leonard Lance, R-NJ, and Paul Tonko, D-NY, would employ a combination of heightened penalties to stem the growing spread of pirate radio operations in communities throughout the country. Illegal operations are being found on the AM and FM bands alike, with FCC enforcement officers discovering transmitters operating from rooftops, balconies and other properties.

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