Officials seized radio transmission equipment from two allegedly illegal stations in Boston on Monday.
The stations, known as "Big City" and "B87.7 FM" had been operating without a license from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Boston police and U.S. Marshals decided to intervene and confiscate the equipment after the station operators ignored several warnings from the FCC to stop broadcasting.
"Big City" allegedly broadcasted on 100.3 FM, 105.3 FM, and 101.3 FM from studios in Dorchester and Roxbury, while "B87.7" allegedly broadcasted on 87.7 FM and also had a station in Dorchester.
"When pirate radio stations refuse to cease operations, despite multiple warnings, action must be taken," said United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling. "It is a public safety hazard for illegal radio stations to broadcast, potentially interfering with critical radio communications."
Prosecutors within the U.S. attorney's office in Boston will continue to work with the FCC on this case.
The FCC was notified of the illegal stations' existence through complaints -- one of which came from a licensed broadcaster who found that the illegal stations' broadcasts were interefering with his own. There is a finite number of radio frequencies, so when an illegal station begin broadcasting, it prevents licensed stations from operating normally.
“Pirate radio stations are operating without an FCC license – and therefore breaking the law, as well as interfering with licensed broadcasters and potentially preventing those broadcasters from delivering critical public-safety information to listeners,” said Rosemary Harold, chief of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau.
According to the Communications Act of 1934, radio broadcasters need a license from the FCC in order to operate equipment that exceeds a low-intensity threshold. The consequence of failing to comply with this law is equipment seuizure.