Thursday, June 23, 2011

New York Joins States Passing Pirate Radio Legislation

The New York State Assembly passed legislation recently that was usually a Federal only jurisdiction. This legislation targets pirate radio operators and provides that such operation is a class "A" misdemeanor with the absurd claim that major stations are being drowned out by pirates regularly.

The MAJORITY of pirate broadcasts are on the HF bands, not local FM and AM frequencies! States like New York, Florida, etc. are so close to the Atlantic ocean, a wide open space that often provides natural "E" propagation and may not always be due to illegal in-land broadcasters. Suspiciously, the FCC has not chimed in on this and none of the news articles gives any information about how many of these "interference" cases have been determined to come from in-land broadcasters.

This is not to say that in-land pirate stations don't sometimes drift off frequency due to operator error, or that operators aren't sometimes being malicious. The concern here is that these laws duplicate federal laws already on the books and allow states to regulate a federal set of laws. Can these laws be used as precedents to eventually put licensed amateur operators and licensed broadcasters under the jurisdiction of the state? Can these laws set precedent for new manipulations that would affect properly licensed stations and operators?

How far are the states planning in going in radio regulation before the FCC no longer has any jurisdiction and before FCC pre-emptions no longer valid? We are in the slippery slope everyone!

1 comment:

Paul said...

There are many, many more pirate broadcasters on FM than on Shortwave. At any given time in the NYC area, there are quite literally hundreds of them.

The NY state law is misplaced and for the most part, unenforceable.