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Ofcom wins pirate radio components case

Broadcast Warehouse pleads guilty

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Two directors of Broadcast Warehouse, the Croydon-based radio supplier, have pleaded guilty to supplying illegal radio equipment at Croydon Magistrates Court.

The firm pleaded guilty to the charges after Broadcast Warehouse components were found within transmitters seized by Ofcom from pirate stations.

The components failed to meet the Radio Equipment and Telecommunications Terminal Equipment (R&TTE) regulations, designed to ensure radio equipment doesn't cause interference to other radio users, including the emergency services. That legislation has traditionally only been applied to finished products rather than components.

The company and the directors were fined £10,000, with £90,000 in costs.

Bored of grabbing transmitting equipment which is quickly replaced, and raiding studios which only results in arrests and (generally) official cautions, Ofcom has started targeting those supplying the radio equipment in the hope of making them more careful about whom they sell to.

Ofcom certainly needs a new strategy as the old one is clearly not working - the number of raids, convictions and fines has remained pretty static over the last two decades, while the number of pirate stations has slowly increased.

Broadcast Warehouse supplies radio equipment to many of the new community radio stations and are on Ofcom's published list of suppliers, but in future they're going to have to be a lot more careful about identifying their customers. Perhaps some sort of ID card? ®

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