FCC proposes $600,000 fine for unlicensed Mattapan radio station

The FCC says it's grown tired of a man it says has been running an illegal radio station via transmitters in Mattapan, Randolph and Brockton for nearly two decades, so it's now proposing to fine him $597,775 in an attempt to get him to stay off the air.

In a notice of apparent liability for forfeiture, first reported by Inside Radio, the commission reports that its Boston office tracked
programming from Jean Harold Marius's Radio Tele Planet Compas at 89.3 MHz to an address on Walk Hill Street in Mattapan in both June and July of last year - and also followed the same programming to addresses in Randolph and Brockton.

It's the latest periodic attempt by the FCC to shutter low-wattage stations, generally aimed at Boston-area Haitian and African-American communities, that go online without an FCC license.

In December, Marius, who focuses on religious programming for the local Haitian community, wrote the FCC to say he had stopped transmitting on the air. This afternoon, a car radio in Roslindale tuned to 89.3 only picked up a Rhode Island NPR station.

Last year, the FCC set a minimum fine of $20,000 for pirate radio operators, but said Marius was more than deserving of a whopping increase, in part because he's been warned - and fined - by the commission before:

"First, we find that Marius's conduct was intentional. Marius had been warned multiple times since 2004 that his conduct was illegal, including a forfeiture order issued against him, but he nonetheless chose to continue to operate without authorization. Second, we find that an upward adjustment is warranted based on Marius's history of prior violations of the Act observed by Agents in 2004 and 2017. Last, we find that Marius's broadcasting on two separate frequencies and from three different geographic areas was egregious as it significantly increased the likelihood of interference to lawfully operating stations and the potential for harm to the public if such stations needed to transmit emergency alerts."

Marius, who lives in Randolph, has 30 days to appeal the proposed fine.


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