BOSTON – A warrant recently unsealed in U.S. District Court details the seizure of radio transmission equipment of a pirate radio station broadcasting from Roslindale.
The seizure, by federal officials on May 21, 2013, occurred at the station’s last known address on Washington Street in Roslindale. The pirate radio station is alleged to have been using frequency 88.5 MHz without a license from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). A civil action was brought seeking forfeiture of the equipment because it was allegedly used in violation of federal law.
According to an affidavit filed with the civil complaint, the FCC issued warnings to the residents of 4258 Washington Street, but the radio station continued to broadcast. The forfeiture action was brought after complaints were received from a licensed broadcaster about interference with its radio signal.
The Communications Act of 1934 prohibits the operation of radio broadcasting equipment above certain low-intensity thresholds without a license issued by the FCC. The Act authorizes the seizure and forfeiture of any electronic or radio frequency equipment used to broadcast without an FCC license. The number of available radio frequencies is limited, and unlicensed broadcasting can interfere with the broadcasting of legitimate licensed radio stations, potentially causing chaos in the radio spectrum.
“It is a potential hazard to public safety for pirate radio stations to broadcast illegally and interfere with critical radio communications,” said United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office will work in conjunction with the FCC to identify and seize equipment from these pirate broadcasters.”
“The FCC remains committed to shutting down pirate broadcasters whose operations potentially endanger public safety and interfere with the legitimate broadcasts of our licensees.” said Michele Ellison, Chief of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau. “We will continue to use all available enforcement tools, including equipment seizures, to protect the airwaves and are grateful for the assistance and fine work of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston.”
U.S. Attorney Ortiz and Chief Ellison made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine Wichers of Ortiz’s Civil Division.