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FCC Steps Up Enforcement Against Texas Pirate Stations

The Federal Communications Commission has issued four notices this month for unlicensed operation of illegal radio stations in Texas.

Three individuals and two churches were put on notice that continued operations could subject them to “substantial monetary fines, in remarrest action (seizure) against the offending radio equipment, and criminal sanctions, including imprisonment.”

All were given 10 days to respond with evidence that they were indeed licensed and to immediately terminate illegal operations.

The notices were issued by the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau after investigations by the Dallas field office staff in August and September.

Jose Luis Moncayo of Amarillo was cited by the Enforcement Bureau after agents confirmed in September that radio signals on frequency 93.5 MHz were emanating from the Baeza Iglesia Bautista Renovacion Ministerio Internacional at 3901 SE 10th Avenue in that city. 

The FCC said Moncavo admitted to the agents that he was responsible for establishing the station.

Emir Alberto Morales Chapas of Port Arthur was cited by the Enforcement Bureau after an agent confirmed in August that radio signals on frequency 95.9 MHz were emanating from a tree in front of a residential property on 10th Street in that city.

The FCC said public records list Chapas as the property owner.

Joe Donalson was cited by the Enforcement Bureau after an agent confirmed in August that radio signals on frequency 87.9 MHz were emanating from a tower at property on 70 Neyland Street in Houston.  

The FCC agent confirmed thru investigation that Donalson was the operator of the unlicensed radio station at that location.

The FCC also cited New Beginnings Fellowship Church of Houston, owner of the property.

These latest actions by the FCC come as HR 5709, the “Preventing Illegal Radio Abuse Through Enforcement Act”, a bipartisan anti-pirate radio measure, is languishing in the U.S. Senate. 

The U.S. House unanimously passed the measure, co-authored by U.S. Reps. Leonard Lance, R-NJ, and Paul Tonko, D-NY, this past July.

The bill could still move before the year’s end in the lame duck session of Congress. 

Texas cosponsors of the bill include U.S. Reps. Bill Flores, R-Waco, and Gene Green, D-Houston.

The measure increases the penalties, requires regular enforcement sweeps, and augments the tools available to the FCC to stop illegal pirate broadcasters. 

Read more on the legislation...

As we said at the time of that article, there is no shortage of brazen individuals seeking to flaunt the FCC’s rules on unauthorized operations.

Let us know if you’re aware of a pirate radio operator in your market so TAB can bolster support for this bill among members of Congress.

Questions? Contact TAB's Michael Schneider or call (512) 322-9944.

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