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Congressman Chris Collins

Representing the 27th District of New York

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Reps. Collins & Tonko Lead Letter Calling on FCC Chief to Combat Pirate Radio Broadcasters

Jun 9, 2015
Press Release

U.S. Representatives Chris Collins (NY-27) and Paul Tonko (NY-20) today released the following statements after sending a letter signed by 33 Members of the New York and New Jersey Congressional delegations to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Thomas Wheeler. The letter requests an expeditious response to the growing number of pirate radio broadcasters in the region that are harming consumers and public safety.

“Pirate radio operations are threatening public safety and negatively impacting radio listeners and legitimate radio broadcasters,” said Congressman Collins. “It is imperative the FCC work to ensure that interferences created by pirate radio frequencies are eliminated. Thank you to Congressman Tonko and the rest of the letter’s signees for joining me in raising awareness about this important issue.”

“Pirate radio interferes with critical emergency alert services as well as entertainment programming delivered to areas in New York, New Jersey and across the nation,” said Congressman Tonko. “In times of severe weather, massive traffic accidents, or law enforcement operations that require the help of the public, every second counts when delivering an important message over the airwaves. I thank Congressman Collins and all those who joined this letter to signal their willingness to work with the FCC to eliminate unauthorized broadcasts and radio piracy.”

According to recent complaints filed with the FCC, the number of pirate FM radio stations throughout New York City could outnumber the number of licensed operations while the problem in northern New Jersey may be equally as pervasive.

This bipartisan letter raises concerns over the fact that pirate radio broadcasters interfere with the Emergency Alert Service (EAS) signal broadcast, thereby threatening millions of Americans’ ability to receive notifications in the event of an emergency or national crisis. It also takes issue with the fact that illegal broadcasters do not comply with consumer protection laws or any FCC regulations, which exposes consumers – especially those living in the vulnerable most communities – to unwarranted hardship.

Full text of the letter can be read here.