U.S. Govt Takes Aim to Stop Unlicensed Worcester Radio Station

U.S. Govt Takes Aim to Stop Unlicensed Worcester Radio Station 1

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WORCESTER – The federal government announced on Tuesday that they have filed an injunction to stop an unlicensed radio station from operating in Worcester.

According to complaint from the Dept. of Justice, Vasco Oburoni and Christian Praise International Church [located at 94 Endicott St., Worcester] have been operating a radio broadcast station in Worcester — on frequency 97.1 MHz — without a license from the Federal Communications Commission [FCC].

“It is a potential hazard to public safety for pirate radio stations to broadcast illegally and interfere with critical radio communication,” said United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling. “Like any member of the community, the operators of these illegal stations could have applied for radio licenses and operated their stations in compliance with the law. When they choose to operate illegally, and continue those operations after being warned multiple times, action must be taken.”

The complaint also alleges that Oburoni and the Church previously operated an unlicensed radio station on frequency 102.3 MHz.

The FCC issued multiple warnings to Oburoni and issued a forfeiture order in the amount of $15,000 against Oburoni for repeated violation of the Communications Act of 1934. Oburoni agreed to a payment plan — but began broadcasting again without a license on a different frequency.

“It is a potential hazard to public safety for pirate radio stations to broadcast illegally and interfere with critical radio communication,” said United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling. “Like any member of the community, the operators of these illegal stations could have applied for radio licenses and operated their stations in compliance with the law. When they choose to operate illegally, and continue those operations after being warned multiple times, action must be taken.”

The complaint also alleges that Oburoni and the Church previously operated an unlicensed radio station on frequency 102.3 MHz.

The FCC issued multiple warnings to Oburoni and issued a forfeiture order in the amount of $15,000 against Oburoni for repeated violation of the Communications Act of 1934. Oburoni agreed to a payment plan — but began broadcasting again without a license on a different frequency.

“This groundbreaking step, for an injunction to stop a pirate radio operator’s illegal activities, is part of our continued effort efforts to combat illegal broadcasting,” said Rosemary Harold, Chief of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau. “As we work with our law enforcement colleagues to use every tool in our toolbox to combat pirate radio, I welcome the Justice Department’s renewed use of its Section 401(a) injunction authority. Along with fines, equipment seizures, and warnings, this action underlines our continued interest in combating this serious problem. We sincerely thank the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s Office and commend the outstanding work of our hardworking FCC Field agents.”

The FCC has received complaints, including from a licensed broadcaster, that the unlicensed station is interfering with radio signals.


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    Patrick Sargent is the founder and lead reporter for ThisWeekinWorcester.com. He was born and raised on Grafton Hill and is a graduate of Holy Name high school and Worcester State University. Over the past two years, he worked as a contributing reporter for the Worcester Sun. Previous to that, over the course of several years, he had stints with GoLocalWorcester, Worcester Magazine, the Leominster Champion and Fitchburg Pride. He is the owner of Sargent Media, LLC and can be contacted at [email protected] or 774-232-1223.