‘PIRATE Act’ Positives, Even With Enforcement Concerns


CORAL GABLES, FLA. — As the clock neared 2pm on Sunday, January 14, the sounds of Haitian Creole-flavored programming at 90.1 MHz could easily be heard on a car radio in the parking lot of the Biltmore Hotel.

It is not supposed to be there. The FCC knows this, and in July 2018 presented the operator of this pirate radio station branded as “Radio Touche Douce” a then-maximum forfeiture of $144,344. Polynice Fabrice has yet to cease broadcasts; an Instagram page for the faux station promoted a live event co-sponsored by Radio Touche Douce for a North Miami venue over Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., weekend. An Instagram story asked people on Wednesday evening (1/24) to offer up their song suggestions for a mix show.

On Thursday, January 25, the FCC stepped up its attempts to silence “Radio Touche Douce” in a significant way. Fabrice received a new Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture of $2,391,097. Fines totaling more than $3.5 million were levied against five Miami-area pirate radio operators, with Polynice getting the biggest proposed fine, by far.

While enforcement of forfeitures against individuals found to be unlicensed radio operators has been difficult, if not impossible, in some circumstances, the Commission’s efforts to stop unlicensed radio activity has seen a significant step-up over the last year. These accomplishments of the Enforcement Bureau were shared in an annual report to Congress submitted by the FCC on the positives the “Preventing Illegal Radio Abuse Through Enforcement Act” has brought to patrolling the nation’s airwaves.


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