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FCC tells Miami landlord to stop pirate radio broadcasts

The federal agency says it may fine the landlord over $2.1 million if the pirate broadcasts aren't stopped

The federal agency says it may fine the landlord over $2.1 million if the pirate broadcasts aren't stopped

The logo of the FCC. (Image: Handout, Graphic: The Desk)

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says it may impose more than $2.1 million in fines against a Florida landlord who owns a property where a pirate radio station is broadcasting.

In September, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau received a complaint about a radio station broadcasting on 91.7 FM in the Miami area. According to a notice published this week, the FCC was able to determine the radio station was operating without a license, with the source of the broadcast coming from a Miami-area home sublet by owner Leclerc Alce, 65, of Fort Lauderdale.

The notice reviewed by The Desk on Thursday said the broadcast coming from the property owned by Alce wasn’t covered by an exception to the FCC’s regulations that allow individuals to use some low-power transmitters to distribute audio signals across short distances. While not specified in the notice, the broadcast appeared to be strong enough to receive beyond the home in question — enough that a citizen complained about it to the agency.

While the FCC has historically targeted the operator of pirate radio stations, an expansion of the FCC’s enforcement powers allows the agency to go after property owners and other individuals who provide “goods or services” to those who operate illegal broadcast outlets.

It was not clear if Alce was made aware of the notice from the FCC. A phone number listed for Alce’s Fort Lauderdale resident appeared to be disconnected when The Desk tried to call on Thursday.

The FCC said Alce has 10 business days to respond to the letter. If no contact is made, the FCC said it will assume that Alce has “sufficient knowledge of the above-referenced pirate radio activity to support enforcement action against you.”

If the broadcast outlet continues to operate, the FCC said it could fine Alce a total of $2,149,551 — the maximum allowed by law.