Pirate radio is a safety hazard

Don’t glamorize it.

Your editorial on tough fines imposed by the Federal Communications Commission on illegal pirate radio operators (“Give radio pirates chance to go legit,” Jan. 2) minimizes the risks these unlawful broadcasts pose to public safety. Pirate radio broadcasts have repeatedly interfered with air traffic controllers and emergency service communications, as well as with licensed radio station broadcasts that provide Emergency Alert System signals that you cite as important in keeping listeners out of danger. When you are landing at Logan Airport, do you really want pirate radio signals interfering with airline pilot and air traffic controller communications?

With other options such as Internet radio available to pirate operators, licensed radio broadcasters are thankful the FCC is finally cracking down on those that flout the law. We are also supportive of the Pirate Act, which would provide the FCC with stronger resources to combat illegal pirate radio. This bipartisan legislation has passed the House of Representatives and is under consideration by the Senate.


Pirate radio should not be glamorized but instead recognized for what it is: a threat to public safety and interference-free broadcasting.

Dennis Wharton

Executive vice president of communications, National Association of Broadcasters

Washington, D.C.