TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES, N.M. (KRQE) – Spaceport America is under fire and facing millions of dollars in fines from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC says it has to do with a pirate radio station that broadcasted from their grounds during last year’s Spaceport America Cup competition.
Their annual Spaceport America Cup is a huge event for the facility, but it’s exactly that event that has them in hot water with the FCC. “Basically, what it was, it was in reference to a customer that used what is known as low FM frequencies…The customer thought that they had the permits for it. They used the FM frequency for that matter, and it was not in the right appropriate use that they should have used it,” says Francisco Pallares, business development director for Spaceport America.
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According to the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau, between June 21st and June 25th last year, unauthorized radio signals were transmitted on the 95.3 and 96.3 frequencies during the Spaceport America Cup. The FCC calls this ‘pirate radio’ broadcasting and is threatening to slap the Spaceport with a $2.3 million dollar fine.
“In some instances, when you have a lot of logistics and a lot of things, certain things can go and slip through your hands. I think that was one of those cases,” Pallares says, “It has been noted and it has been corrected and we’re going to take appropriate measures to ensure that doesn’t happen this year.”
Spaceport America released the following statement regarding the matter:
When asked whether the FCC had responded to their explanation of the notice of illegal broadcasting, Pallares said no. News 13 reached out to the FCC and to the New Mexico State Land Office—which is also listed on the notice because it owns the land at the Spaceport—for comment but have not heard back.
No word on when the FCC will conclude its investigation or announce if the Spaceport might still face a fine.