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FCC sends violation notice to Snapchat over business radios

The Federal Communications Commission has issued a violation notice against California-based photography company Snapchat over the organization’s use of two-way business radios.

The notice, which was made publicly available on Thursday, accuses Snapchat of using its business radios in a way that harmfully interfered with other radios in the area.

The violation concerns radio station WQVZ814, which Snapchat licensed with the FCC last year. Records obtained by The Desk shows the station is licensed to provide internal “trunked” communications on a piece of radio spectrum that the FCC sets aside for use by businesses that are engaged in education, manufacturing, healthcare and other commercial activities.

The station is one of several Snapchat is licensed to operate. According to records, Snapchat operates the station out of its 80,000 square foot industrial complex off Donald Douglas Boulevard in Santa Monica, California. Snapchat signed a $3 million annual lease for the space last year, according to a local media report.

It wasn’t immediately clear what Snapchat specifically uses the licensed radio stations for, though some businesses obtain licenses for long-range radios used by security personnel at large office complexes.

The FCC said it received a complaint in March of harmful radio interference approximately 10 miles away from Snapchat’s transmission location. During an inspection, an FCC staff member noted Snapchat’s radio equipment was not “monitoring its trunked repeater output” to prevent a transmission on a frequency that was already in use, which is a violation of FCC rules.

The FCC has ordered Snapchat to provide a response to its notice by September 3.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).