Bargain basement buccaneer walks the plank


Actually, the FM bandit was working out of a garage, or rather, he claims his tenants were. The upshot is that an organization identified by Donald J. Payne of San Diego CA as FRSD had an FM mast and was operating with an amount of juice above the legal limit on 96.9 MHz.

An FCC field agent traced the signal to Payne's garage on 4/3/06. The agents found the station still in operation several times thereafter, and even spoke directly with Payne, who said the garage was locked and inaccessible, and that FRSD was paying him 100 dollars a month for the space. (FRSD = Free Radio San Diego? That'd be out guess.)

The station was found to be in operation as late as 11/13/06. It was finally shut down and Payne was hit with the standard 10K fine on 12/28/06. Payne argued that it wasn't his station, but the fact that it was running on his property, that he was providing necessary electricity, and that he was benefiting from rental fees, was more than enough to make the fine stick. However, three years worth of tax records were sufficient to have the fine reduced to 750 dollars due to Payne's inability to pay the full 10K.