They used to primarily affect major urban areas, but now radio pirates can be found broadcasting from suburbs, mountain shacks, or even automobiles.
Often, it seems that these unlicensed, audacious broadcasters have a special genre of music or a cultural viewpoint to share. One, which I heard recently in the Canyon Country area, branded his contribution to the airwaves as “Range-Free Radio, music without all those commercials!”
Whatever the purpose or platform, if you know someone who is broadcasting without a license, you better warn them that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is getting serious about stopping them. When they find the illegal broadcaster they will confiscate their equipment and fine him/her thousands of dollars!
You see, in addition to pirate radio being illegal, it can cause audio interference to a licensed broadcast station and sometimes even to non-broadcast communications facilities. Licensed stations are regulated in their spacing, power and safety considerations of others. Broadcasting copyrighted music is also illegal and denies writers and musicians appropriate compensation for their talents and efforts. Some may even be their neighbors.
In addition, the FCC is warning those who support pirate radio (e.g. landlords and advertisers) that their support could “expose them to FCC enforcement or other legal actions.” This may even be charged in retrospect for support of prior pirate operations. Spread the word!
With all the media options now available online and digitally, there is really no reason for unlicensed broadcasters to chance the financial and legal liabilities entangled with “range-free radio.”