NAL Watch: A Look at FCC Enforcement
(Notices of Apparent Liability), Forfeiture Orders, Notices of Violation
(NOVs), and Consent Decrees issued by the MB (Media Bureau) or the EB (Enforcement Bureau)
are worth taking a look.
2016 NOTE - Fewer
NALs are being issued currently because the FCC
is focused on pirate operations to placate broadcasters alarmed at the closing
of almost half the field offices.
Quick link to other
current (non-enforcement) news stories <------
Note: Clicking on the NAL amount
takes you to the FCC Notice.
Clicking on the
cited rule number will take you to the text of the rule.
Failure to ensure their towers were lit and properly
painted, and notifying the FAA when they were not - even
after several visits by field agents - brought Pentecostal
Temple Development Co.'s WGBN in Lincoln Borough, PA
NALF for $25k. As one might expect, the base fine
was increased due to the station's failure to do as
Failure to file an acceptable renewal application in 2004
has brought an
NALF for $13k to WINW, Canton, OH. A "red light"
hold on the original application led to dismissal of the
renewal application and the station operated without
authorization until it filed an acceptable application in
2011. (The station has had a number of addition issues,
including vandalism in February 2013, and loss of its
transmitter site - and has operated with several STAs
Failure to file a timely renewal application in 2013 has
resulted in an
NALF for $1.5k for KHQN, Spanish Fork, UT. Although
late, the application was received before the license was to
expire, so the FCC permitted the renewal, but assessed the
$1.5k fine for the lateness.
303(q), - A
Hearing Designation Order was issued in the matter
of KDND, Sacramento relating to a contest in January 2007
that led to the death of a listener/ participant. "Hold Your
Wee for a Wii" encouraged participants to drink massive
amounts of water without elimination, in order to win. As
the contest progressed, the hosts increased the amount of
water to drink and, eventually, this led to the death of
Jennifer Strange. Entercom paid $16.8 million in a civil
suit. And now the FCC wants to look at the event.
1.17, 1.65, 73.1015
303(q), - Another lengthy issue, one going at least back to 1988,
involved Brian Dodge and stations and translators he has
owned. According to the FCC, critical information was either
withheld or otherwise "hidden" for years. The
Order notes a $100k payment to the Treasury,
cancellation of some licenses, approval of transfer of some
others, and short term renewals.
- The FCC had cited SCMS for
illegal marketing of a transmitter from BW Broadcast
that was not properly certified. However, after being
questioned, the FCC Enforcement Bureau backed down.
Bob Cauthen of SCMS explains why broadcasters need not
worry about using BW Broadcast transmitters sold through
SCMS. BW Broadcast CEO
Scott Incz also addresses the issue.
- Stations playing the clock
against the FCC's "one
year" rule should be aware that the FCC does not view
operating for one day a year - or several days - will
justify being dark most of the time. The FCC's Peter Doyle
notes “Silence instead of licensed operation is a
fundamental failure to serve station’s community of license
because a silent station offers that community no public
service programming such as news, public affairs, weather
information and Emergency Alert System notifications."
Doyle was specifically commenting upon the KLIM, Limon, CO
situation, where the station spent most of the last four
years off the air, sometimes with STAs, sometimes not. The
FCC assessed a
$5k fine and renewed the license for just two years.
In the Memorandum Opinion and Order, Doyle pressed the
point: brief periods of station operation sandwiched between
prolonged periods of silence are of little value because the
local audience is not accustomed to tuning in to the
- Even Hams must do station
IDs. The FCC has issued a
fine of $1000 for failing to identify his station
according to the Rules. David Tolassi was fined for not
identifying within the 10 minute limit required.
- 7/21/16 -
- A student-run station -
WHYC, Swan Quarter, NC - facing $18k in fines for violations
was allowed to sign a
Consent Decree and Order for $2250 to resolve a
number of serious violations: failure to notify the FCC if
off the air for 10 days, failure to seek permission to stay
off longer than 30 days, failure to maintain the Public
Information file, and failure to file the biennial ownership
- 6/20/16 -
- Failure to maintain the Public Information
File and to submit the required Biennial Ownership Reports
resulted in a
Forfeiture Order for $12k and a short renewal term
KURS in San Diego, CA. The
station did not respond to the original NAL, so the FCC
proceeded with the forfeiture, plus a short term renewal.
The station license whill apparently now end in January
2017, unless a timely renewal application is not filed.
73.3526 - A station MUST allow a member of the public to view
the Public Gile during business hours - at least until the
current transition to online Public Files (OPIF) is
accomplished. WQBQ, Leesburg, FL failed, in 2011, to
immediately show the visitor the Public File. The visitor
complained to the FCC, and also filed a Petition to Deny the
license renewal. Five years later the
Memorandum and Order and NALF has arrived: $15,000
and a two year renewal.
- 5/27/16 -
Failure to file file their renewal application on time in
2013 has brought an
NALF for $1.5k to KFPZ-FM
Lakeport, CA. The fine
was reduced from $3k because the renewal application was
filed before the license had expired.
- 5/23/16 -
- Mt. Rushmore Broadcasting and the FCC finally reached agreement
Consent Decree and Order, disposing of
some $134.5k in fines for a series of violations, involving
main studio staffing, public files, tower painting and
lighting, and main and STL licensing. (See 2/28/13 and
7/26/12 below). Claiming inability to pay, the fines were
reduced to $25k and committing to a compliance and
monitoring plan. The Commission also noted that if it is
found that Mt. Rushmore lied about anything, the whole fine
- 5/23/16 -
Failure to file their renewal application on time in 2013
has brought an
NALF for $1.5k to KDCQ(FM) Coos Bay, OR. The fine
was reduced from $3k because the renewal application was
filed before the license had expired.
- 3/6/16 - 73.3527
Forfeiture Order for $10k was the FCC's response to
Peconic Public Broadcasting's petition for a reduction in a
fine related to a Baker's Dozen of missing Issues & Program
lists at WPPB in Southhampton, NY. The station tried
everything from "it wasn't our fault" to "We're just too
poor to pay," but the FCC declined to give an inch - or a
dollar - especially after the station failed to provide tax
records that the FCC requested multiple times.
- 1/7/16 -
The trend of late for fewer but bigger actions from the EB
continues with this one that landed on Cumulus. The FCC has
Order for a $540k Consent Decree over the failure of
WOKQ, Dover NH to adequately identify the sponsor of some
2011 ads that supported the construction of a controversial
electric transmission line. That $540k? That is three years
of monthly payments of $15k. And there is a requirement that
Compliance Plan be initiated with a Compliance Officer, etc.
- 12/17/15 -
Some of the most difficult rules to read, understand, and
comply with relate to the FCC's EEO rules - and for some
stations represent a major part of their legal expenses
whether or not there is ultimately a fine.
Davidson Media in Richmond VA was cited (see 12/19/14,
below) for violating recruitment and "self assessment" rules
at four of their stations in 2009-2011 by hiring a walk-in
and two "client/employee referrals, and three others with
insufficient public recruitment. The Commission rejected
station explanations, requesting reduction or cancellation
of the fine, issuing a
Forfeiture Order for $5k and a reporting
- 12/15/15 -
It took a sale 23 years after an early LMA was set up for it
to come to the Commission's attention and the MB to issue an
included an $8k payment to the Treasury. A proposed
sale of KRDO-FM Colorado Springs was therefore allowed to
- 11/25/15 -
"When the fence fails, so do you." WDJZ, a three-tower
directional in Bridgeport, CT, received a
Forfeiture Order for $10k, relating to an inspector
finding the fences falling apart in July 2012. Excuses that
People's Broadcast Network fixed the fences after the
inspection and inability to pay were tuirned down, leaving
the fine to stand.
- 11/23/15 -
The FCC this week admitted it
takes too long and they collect too few fines levied -
especially the heart-stopping, large fines - as many
companies try to run out the clock on the Statute of
Limitations. A Memorandum Opinion and Order in a case
that goes back to 2011, has five stations (Pacific Empire)
fighting Public File fines ever since.
The FCC says they have to pay up. The amount, $25k, is
small compared to the ones mentioned below (11/4/15). And
the FCC does have more leverage than with the hotels: they
can "red-flag" the licenses at the next renewal.
- 11/16/15 - 73.3527,
The FCC issued an Order for $6.7k to American International
College and its WAIC(FM), Springfield, MA. $1200 was for
filing their renewal late, and $12k for Public File
violations over several years (32 quarters), which was
reduced to $5.5k, partially in consideration of the
station's past as a student run station. A Compliance Plan
will also be implemented.
- 11/11/15 -
Not just the AM and FM transmitters need to
be properly signed and fenced to keep the public from high
rf exposure. Rooftop transmitters (two-way, RPU, STL, for
example) must also prevent the public from getting too
close. A couple of NALFs issued to companies in Phoenix, AZ
are instructive - and worth consideration by broadcasters.
Wirelessco, L.P., owner of station KNLF254 in
Phoenix, and and
T-Mobile, operator of WQGB378, WQGA745, and WQQQ249,
were sent NALFs for
- 11/4/15 -
Section 333 - The FCC still does not like signal
jammers - and are doing more and more crackdowns on hotels
playing the game to charge huge fees for WiFi access. About
a year ago, Marriott Hotels agreed to a $600k Consent
Decree. Smart City paid $750k earlier this year. And now
M.C. Dean has
an NALF for $718k - adjusted up from $182k - for
jamming WiFi signals at the Baltimore Convention Center, so
they could charge up to $1095 for access to their WiFi
signals. The FCC noted that this went on even after
the previous cases and Public Notice was made explaining the
FCC's decision and position.
And, enforcement on this issue is still not over. Hilton
Hotels is getting
an NALF for $25k - increased from $4k - for
its actions in Anaheim California, where it apparently
"obstructed the FCC's investigation" into how it charged
$500 to get on the Hilton WiFi system. Additionally, the FCC
promises more and higher fines should Hilton not get the
message and stop the practice in its hotels.
- 11/3/15 -
17.51 - Another about two years ago, an Alaskan tower owner,
Johnson Towers, fell afoul of the FCC
rules regarding lighting and painting requirements on
towers. Now it is an
Order for $3k, -but the consolidator will have
to pay another $231k if they continue to violate the FCC
- 10/28/15 - Have you
noticed a distinct fall-off in the NALs since June? There
are rumors that the FCC's cutbacks in the Field Offices has
been rocky, and the offices are not as productive as before.
Congress is even asking if the FCC has an Enforcement
- 10/13/15 -
Three late renewals were all
addressed today with Memorandum and Order and NALFs for
$1.5k. The three stations,
WIMG, Ewing NJ,
WLIH, Whitneyvilla PA, and
WSPQ, Springville NY all turned in renewals late but
before the license expired, so they were not tagged for
broadcasting "without authorization."
- 10/10/15 -
A late renewal by a
student-run station was granted by the FCC, surviving
challenges by two stations seeking to improve their signals.
Order included a total of $6250 in civil penalties,
including operation without a license and at variance with
the previous authorization. Some leniency was granted due to
the station being student-run.
- 9/22/15 -
Holders of a Construction
Permit are expected to, well, actually construct the
facility permitted. In past, some stations have tried to put
up temporary facilities, often short tower and a transmitter
mounted on a pickup truck, and then file, vertifying they
had fulfulled the conditions of the Construction Permit. The
FCC is no longer amused.
In June, the FCC accepted the withdrawl of an application
for license for the 80-mile move of KWCX into the Tucson
market when the Chief Engineer of Journal Broadcast
submitted documentation that nothing was at the designated
coordinates. Despite several excuses, including lease
issues, the end result was dismissial of the CP to move.
This week, the FCC dropped five stations in Texas and New
Mexico for the same reason - failure to construct as
deleting all five stations involved. Tango Radio, LLC
and South Texas FM Investments, LLC lost DKNOS(FM), Albany
Texas; DKANM(FM), Skyline-Ganipa, New Mexico; DKKUL-FM,
Trinity, Texas, DKAHA(FM), Olney, Texas, and DKXME(FM),
The wording of the Memorandum Opinion and Order is meant to
be a warning to others to construct as authorized. Period.
including a payment of $2.2k
closes a matter involving Bucknell University's WVBU(FM),
Lewisburg, PA, and the station's failure to place the Issues
& Programs lists in the Public Information File and moved
the PIF itself to a location other than the Main Studio
without a wavier. Under Comission Policy, a negotiated fine
for $2.2k included a wavier to permit relocating the
- 8/18/15 -
301 - Smart City Holdings
found itself on the wrong side of the FCC's policy against
jamming WiFi of individuals in hotels and conference
centers, so as to drive the sales of their provided "access"
at rates of $80/day. The
Order and Consent Decree levies a $750k fine,
along with a compliance plan and follows the similar
$600k Consent Decree with Marriott International last
October (see 10/3/14, below). Jamming was said to occur by
Smart City in a number of convention centers, including Cincinnati, Ohio;
Columbus, Ohio; Indianapolis, Indiana; Orlando, Florida, and
- 8/5/15 -
As we discussed in March
the FCC took a rather jaundiced view of a Texas station
carefully matching tower members and antenna to develop a
hyper-directional antenna with an ERP of nearly 275 kW
toward another market. Today an
Order was issued, as expected, instructing the
station to turn the transmitter down from 25 kW to 9.1 kW.
The FCC said it had reasons to deny this KFWR from using the
antenna regardless of the somewhat loose understanding that
side-mount FM antennas are no longer perfectly circular.
Whether this will lead to further specifications in the
Rules, remains to be seen.
- 7/28/15 -
97.101(d) - The
Egyptian Radio Club, an Amateur group based in Granite City,
IL, notes that the FCC EB has dropped the hammer on a pair
of Amateurs who ignored some basic rules. One was a
for not properly identifying the station. The
$22k for intentionally causing interference to other
stations, including "using animal noises."
73.1740 - The lengthy illness and death of the owner
(and only fulltime employee) of Larko Communications WMYQ
(FM) in South Whitley, IN, led to a
Memorandum Opinion and Order and NALF for $15k.
After Christopher Larko died in 2010, Public File items were
not kept up to date, and the station subsequently suspended
operations for more than 30 days without an STA. These
issues also caused a holdup in the station renewal. The EB
decided $15k was appropriate and agreed to allow the renewal
when the fines were paid, so the station could be sold.
- 7/6/15 -
301, 73.3539 -
Filing a renewal application after your license expires puts
you in the dog house on at least two points - and excuses
generally will get a deaf ear. First, you get the D (for dog
house - or actually Deleted), and then comes the fine for
late renewal and for operating without authority - in
addition to the legal costs. For DWKYY, Lancaster, KY, the
NALF for $7k comes with a Memorandum Order and
Order, reinstating the call letters, but demanding payment
in 30 days. Compicating matters was the death of the owner,
but the FCC held the Trustee should have sought an STA
Failure to maintain the Public Information File as required
was the basis for three separate Forfeiture Orders for a
total of $12.72k. In each case, one of the excuses
offered was "we corrected matters after the FCC told us."
Simply put, this excuse does not fly. At the same time, the
EB is showing leniency to poor stations.
- J & J Broadcastings' WJSM
(AM) and WTMI (FM) Ironwood, MI were
fined $10.3K for missing Issues & Programs, and the
failure to update their Antenna Structure Registration
(ASR). While the FCC dismissed excuses that "someone took
the files" and "we fixed the ASR as soon as you told us,"
the fine does represent a reduction from $13k, due to
"inability to pay."
- Gerald Park's WEKC,
Williamsburg, KY, took
a $1.5k fine for having no Issues & Programs in the
files. Various excuses were rejected, but the fine reduced
from $15k due to inability to pay.
Communications WPAM, Pottsville, PA is to
pay $720 for missing "numberous" Issues & Program
reports from the files. The original Fine of $10k was again
reduced based on inability to pay.
- 6/17/15 -
Lock the gate!
The engineer for WENY in Southport, NY left the gate open
for a tower crew (See 6/3/14, below),
and a week days later
FCC field agents found it. The station called it an
inadvertent error that the tower crew did not relock the
gate; the FCC disagreed. The definition of "willful" came
into play, with the FCC saying it was not necessary that one
intended to violate the rules. "All
that is necessary is that the licensee knew it was doing the
act in question." The bottom line:
$7k fine stands.
Although Catholic Radio may say they answer to a Higher
Power, the FCC does not accept that as an excuse for running
higher power than authorized. This four-year old violation
and repeated excuses and appeals (see 2/12/15, below) comes
to a close with a
Memorandum Opinion and Order for $3.2k.
- 6/10/15 -
17.51 - A
Forfeiture Order for $10k was issued to Global Tower
LLC, for violations regarding failure to monitor lights at
their Oak Park, MI site. Global did not respond to the NAL,
so the EB made it permanent.
closes a matter involving WIUV(FM), Castleton, VT, a
university station that did not properly maintain the Issues
& Programs lists. The station apparently suffered a flood
and as a student run facility, it qualified under the FCC's
current policy of a one-time reduction of fines for
student run stations. That left a
civil penalty of $1k and an agreement for a required
- 6/5/15 - 73.1350 -
Fellowshipworld's WFWO, Medina NY, station was denied a reduction or
wavier of the $8k fine issued 7/18/13 (below). The FCC found
none of the excuses were acceptable, and reaffirmed the fine
Forfeiture Order (which was already doubled for the
disregard of the FCC's orders).
Consent Order and another unusual violation is
settled. KPSO-FM in Falfurrias, TX was signing off early
each day, in violation of the minimum operating standards
for full time station. The fine was reduced due to financial
- The Enforcement shoe has dropped on iHeart Media for the
false EAS tones (a repeat of the National EAS Test) run on
the Bobby Bones Show on October 24, 2014. The
Order for $1 Million in civil penalties (plus a
compliance plan) was agreed to by iHeart Media
to conclude the matter. It is worth noting that part of the
reason for the large settlement was that the program was
more than just on locally in Nashville (WSIX) - it was on
satellite and carried in a number of markets.
This fine is part of the
EB's continuing policy to get more and more aggressive
and firm with stations that casually violate the Rules. The
last such fine, for three seconds of pornography on a
Virginia TV station (WDBJ), was for $325 k.
However - it is also worth noting that none of the other
radio/TV/cable stations that ran the EAN were - or will be
fined. Officially, under the current - non-new-rewritten
Part 11 that the FCC has been promising for years - Rules,
an EAN must be relayed regardless of the timestamp.
That would have prevented the fake EAN from running. But, in
typical bureaucratic manner, in reaction to a slight delay
at some stations in the 2011 National Test caused by a
programming error at the FEMA, a more recent Policy
statement and part of the NPRM for Part 11 now says stations
are to run an EAN immediately, regardless of the timestamp.
This will need to be sorted out in the - eventual - new Part
NALF for $9k - and an admonishment - issued to
KBFD-DT may validate some of the concerns many stations have
about the FCC push to put all Public Information Files
online on the FCC servers. While the forms were filed
locally, the station failed to upload 20 quarters of
Children's Programming Reports to the FCC site. The station
did self-report this on their renewal, and the FCC tripled
the "normal" fine of $3k due to the number of missing
- Perhaps you have noticed a lack of activity over the past
month. Perhaps it is because there is a new "Enforcer in
Chief." The Enforcement Bureau's new Chief, Travis LeBlanc,
has set some ambitious goals. During last week's NAB Show,
LeBlanc indicated he is as interested in "prevention, not
just enforcement." He also said he does not intend to have
the same "license hold ups" that were common under his
Some have speculated the intent of the rather stiff penalty
proposed for WDBJ (next item), whether it was "a shot acroos
the bow" or a desire to announce his arrival. Either way, it
will be interesting to see how the EB carries on from here.
A small box triggered the top FCC fine -
an NALF for $325k - for a single vioation at
WDBJ(DT) Roanoke, VA.
The violation - showing a video image of a hand
stroking an erect penis - came during a news story about a
porn star becoming a community volunteer. Unfortunately for
the station, while grabbing a picture from a web site, the
station included an inset box with the video. To put it
mildly, the FCC was not amused.
- How much is too much? In other words, how far can you
push FCC policy before it hits back. The story above is
fairly cut and dry, given the content. A station in
Texas received a CP to move and upgrade but, according to
the FCC, went a bit too far in trying to rim-shot a station
into a larger market. KFWR, Jacksboro TX, was granted 100 kW
@ 425m HAAT. The
Order to Show Cause issued after a complaint by KCKL
would reduce TPO from 25 kW to 9.1 kW.
Why? KFWR appears to have planned to make their
non-directional antenna even more directional than would be
permitted by the Rules, using the tower structure and
mounting to send an ERP of 262 to 274 kW toward the larger
market: Dallas. While it a pretty open "secret" in FM that a
non-directional antenna can be side-mounted in such a manner
as to result in an augmented signal in a particular
direction, this one with its 4.386 gain got the FCC's
KTJO, Ottawa University, in Ottawa KS, discovered the limits
of the FCC leniency for documentation matters at first time
NCEFM (student-run) offenders. While the Commission issued
an Order for $12.2k, only $1.2k of that was for
missing Public File and Ownership Reports, an
additional $11k was assessed for EAS CAP Compliance and
Minimum Operating Schedule rules. One more thing: the
renewal was granted - for four years. In other words: a
WPPB, Southampton NY, admitted on their renewal form that
they failed to put materials in the Public Information File
in the format as required by the Rules. Although the station
has since corrected the problem, the FCC issued a
Memorandum Opinion and Order and NALF for $10k. The
violations were considered "extensive" but not "serious
violations" which could have triggered more actions.
- 2/25/15 - 73.3539 -
Filing their renewal applications last year cost two
stations $1.5k each.
KLLB in West Jordan, UT, and
KFBR in Gerlach, NV, both failed to file their renewals
as required - one a month late, one nearly four months late.
In both cases, the FCC relented from the "normal" $3k fine
and issued the Memorandum and Order and NALF for $1.5k
There is a path for many violations. First the NOV, then the
NAL, then the Forfeiture Order, and finally a Memorandum
Opinion and Order. Naturally, each step usually requires
lawyers, appeals, Petition for Reconsideration, and more.
Catholic Radio Networks' KPIO, Loveland, CO went through the
whole process, and sill are ordered to pay a
$3.2k fine (1/9/14, below), reduced from $4k.
Somehow, one suspects the lawyer's fee is more than $800
... probably more than $4k. At least they got 4 years to pay
from the violation!
- 2/8/15 -
A slow-moving process has reaffirmed the NAL issued (10/24/11,
below) to a 12-Watt Non-Comm station for not having a
Public File, no operating EAS receiver - and having moved
the transmitter a half-mile without authorization. RJ's Late
Night Entertainment now has a
Memorandum Opinion and Order to pay $22k (about
$1833 a Watt!).
Have you attended a conference
or meeting and found that your mobile hot-spot did not work?
An FCC investigation into this situation stemming from a
complaint at a Marriott hotel in Nashville has concluded
that the hotel - and anyone else doing the same "jamming" -
is wrong. In fact, Marriott paid
$600,000 to close the case. Nevertheless, the FCC has
Public Notice that you can refer to ... or carry a
copy with you to show hotel employees and help them back
- If you have a license, you are supposed to broadacst. WTRI
in Brunswick, MD received a
Forfeiture Order for $5k for going "dark" a number
of times since 2005,for as long as 359 days, without timely
filing for STA permission within 30 days. The station has
had financial issues, and went into trusteeship, but the FCC
does expect to be apprised of the operation - or lack
thereof - of stations.
- OK, show of hands: how many think it is illegal to use EAS
tones for so-called comedic or other purposes? Oh .. look,
the "talent" at Univision's Spanish language WXNY-FM, New
York, have their hands up, too. Yes, those brainiacs that
used the tones repeatedly in a skit on the air - telling the
audience it was illegal - and doing it again. As has been
noted, the FCC is becoming less and less amused. Do not
expect the Commission to set aside the Adopted
Order for a $20k fine and a three years compliance
program nor reduce the fine. In fact, this event may play
into another issue.
is another lesson here.
- The FCC has issued yet another warning not to play with
the EAS tones. Perhaps you remember early last year when the
FCC fined NBCUniversal, Disney/ESPN, and Viacom about $2
million for violations, primarly in regards to a commercial
run for the movie Olympus Has Fallen, with
unauthorized tones in them. NBCUniversal paid their half
million, but the others wanted to have the fines reduced or
waived. Instead, the FCC has stood fast, and issued
an NAL for $1.4 million against Viacom and ESPN, as
a Public Notice on the matter.
301, 333 - We do not take a lot of time dealing with the pirates
that get cited and fined. Usually they often ignore the FCC
and have no money anyway. However, the case of Drew Buckley
in Bay Shore, NY it is worth noting because not only was he
operating a pirate station, he was interfering with the
public safety transmissions of the Melville Fire Department.
Forfeiture Order (usually $10k) is for $25k. Whether
Buckley will pay up or not, the interference needs to stop.
17.51 - We start the new year with a series of Forfeiture
Orders for failure to monitor and exhibit the tower lighting
as required by the FCC. Interestingly, in each case the FCC
reduced the fine somewhat.
ACS Wireless, Eagle River, AK - $8k, reduced from $10k.
Kemp Broadcasting, Moapa, NV - $8k, reduced from $14k.
Ohana Media Group, Anchorage, AK - $6k, reduced from
Duhamel Broadcasting Ent., Rapid City, SD - $8k, reduced
- December seems to be the time the EB decides to offers an EEO
fine or two (see 12/5/13 and 12/30/11, below) - and iHeart
(formerly Clear Channel) seems to be a favorite target of
failing to carry out all the parts of the EEO rules. (If you
have more than five fulltime employees, this is something
you want to know about. Among other things, hiring "walk in"
applicants and failing to advertise, incluiding notifying all local organizations that ask for
get you into trouble.)
This time, iHeart's Savanna, GA stations were found guilty
of violating the EEO rules when hiring new staffers, and
an NALF for $9k. But the big cost, along with the
lawyers' fees, is the requirement that the stations provide
the FCC with an annual report for the next three years on
what they have done to correct their errors and live by the
- If one EEO fine is good, two are better reckons the FCC.
Davidson Media in Richmond, VA received
an NALF for $5k for EEO violations when hiring new
staffers. The big sting though, is the requirement that the
stations file annual reports for three years detailing how
they are now compliant.
- Back in July (7/30/14, below), Pittman Broadcasting received two
Memorandum Opinion and Orders totalling $12k for
in Lafayette and Franklinton, LA for EAS and overpower
violations. The stations put up various excuses which the
FCC did not accept, and the fines stick. although reduced by
12/17/14 - 301 -
Several important points of compliance here.
First, if you ever wanted an almost
perfect example of "Willful and Repeated," you will find it
Forfeiture Order for $25k issued to Four Corners
Broadcasting in Durango, CO. The three stations moved their
studios and ran STLs from a place one kilometer from its
assigned place. After enhancing the fine due to the seven
year of action, a reinspection showed continued operations.
The stations argued they filed for licenses. The FCC said
"no, they were dismissed for cause." The stations argued
they had had an ABIP inspection. The FCC said "sorry, we can
inspect and cite any time we are made aware of violations."
73.1125 - A Forfeiture Order for $7k
brings to an end the matter of Cochise Broadcasting's KOMJ
in Omaha, NE not having a staffed Main Studio. An additional
violation regarding the Public File access was dropped (see
11.45 - Another EAS fine for misuse of EAS tones: are your station
employees listening? Apparently staff at WTRC-FM in Niles,
MI were not. The FCC issued
an Order to Pathfinder Communications after
arriving at a Consent Decree with the station - and a
penalty of $46k, plus initiating a compliance plan. The
essence: using EAS tones in an advertisement. Look for
future fines/penalties to get more expensive.
- Section 503(b)(5),
11.45 - This seems to be EAS Week at the EB. This
one is interesting because it involves a non-licensee that
has violated the FCC Rules. The
Citation to SM Radio states that inserting very
brief EAS tones
(about two seconds) in a promotional advertisement on the Stephanie Miller Show on Sirirus
XM violates the Communications Act of 1934 - including
sending what "constitutes a
false distress communication"
- and gives notice that the FCC can indeed cite and fine SM
Radio with "significant fines" for repetition. If you doubt
they are serious (no pun intended), see the item immediately
11.35 - Another station without an EAS receiver. But
this one also tells the story that timing is everything.
Bold Gold Media's WWRR, Scranton, PA had
a $6k fine confirmed with a MO&O. It
appears that Bold Gold's appeal to the original fine was
filed three days late.
- An EAS receiver must be operating, even when a station
is under a CP or PTA. KBXD, Dallas received
a Forfeiture Order for $7.2k for failing to have an
EAS receiver operational during an inspection. A slight
reduction was granted for previous compliance, but the
majority of the fine stays.
Consent Decree and Order for $115k
is the result of Journal Broadcast's KTNV-TV in Las Vegas
violations of the Sponsorship Identification Rule. The
station disguised advertising as news reports.
There have been several fines issued, from time to time, to
stations that continue to ignore the FCC's Telephone
Broadcast Rule that requires notifying a caller that their
conversation will be recorded - before the recording begins.
The Commission continues to escalate fines related to this
practice. This week KTVX-DT in Salt Lake City received
an Order for $35k for broadcasting a recording
twice. It did not help that the station did not respond to
the FCC when directed.
11/18/14 - 73.3539,
Fiesta Radio, currently in the process of selling KAZA,
Gilroy, CA, received a
Memorandum Opinion and Order and an NALF for $18k for
two late renewals (2005 and 2013) and Public Information
File violations. Responses that employees were not familiar
with the process were rejected.
11/13/14 - 73.3539
Failure to file the License Renewal application on time
an NALF for $7k to the Lincoln County, NV School
District. KLYX(FM) in Pioche, NV did not file a Renewal
Application until almost three weeks after the
Alaska Integrated Media won a slight reduction of a fine
issued for failure to properly enclose an antenna. The
Forfeiture Order for $5.6k notes a history of
compliance for the reduction of $1.4k.
Section 301, 1.903, and 1.947 -
The FCC does not like
unauthorized operation. That is one reason you see the
periodic fines against pirates. Midessa )TX) Television LP
an NALF for $86.4k for operating three broadcast
auxiliary services (BAS) without authorization - and six
additional BAS operated at variance from the licenses, some
as long as 22 years (!). Turning down a request to reduce
the $54k fine, the EB actually increased it by $32.4k due to
the seriousness and length of the violations.
Section 333 - The FCC does not like signal
jammers - even on WiFi. Marriott Hotels agreed to
a $600,000 Consent Decree to settle complaints that
the hotel chain's Nashville operation at Gaylord Opryland
purposely jammed WiFi frequencies to stop ad hoc mobile "hot
spots" from working. Marriott admitted to the violation,
which was an effort to sell high-priced access (as much as
$1000 per device, according to the FCC notice) to convention
attendees. The FCC also required a three-year Compliance
Program, which includes regular reports to the Commission on
Equity Communications will have to give up
equity to the tune of $30k in Forfeture Orders,
as the FCC reaffirms the NALs issued in October 2011
WMID and July 2012
WCMC (see both below) for failure to paint a tower
and repair gates and fences. Equity had promised immediate
corrections, but the FCC says they have a different concept
of immediate - some things were still not corrected
according to an inspection seven months later.
The FCC reaffirmed the violation at Western Slope's two stations in
Colorade (see 7/10/13, below) for not having complete Public
Forfeiture Order for $20k, effectively reversed the
original fine's augmentation, noting the station did make
some efforts to comply but it was after the fact and did not
change the fact that the files were missing at the time of
Another reduction concerns York, PA station WOYK. The
original fine of $7k was reduced to a
Forfeiture Order for $5.6k, again based on the
station's history of compliance. (It is probably worth
noting that the legal costs in this case far exceeded the
301, 1.903 -
M.J. Phillips Communications has a studio for WJJL in West
Seneca NY. Unfortunately, their STL (WHB714) has been
licensed for many years to a site in Niagra Falls, just over
24 miles away. The FCC responded to a complaint in 2013 and
issued an NOV. The station acknowledged the problem and said
it would resolve it. However, over seven months later, the
Field Agents found the station had not complied The
Commission hiked the fine by $2.4k due to the "willful and
repeated" violations. Hence the
NAL for $6.4k and a requirement that the station
report in 30 days as to how they have come into compliance.
17.47, 17.56 -
Forfeiture Order for $7.5k issued to Telava Wireless
in Fordsville KY, is a reminder that the FCC takes seriously
any failure to monitor and/or rapidly care for tower light
outages. In this case, the Commission did reduce the fine
from $17k in response to a plea of inability to pay - but
just as with the new policy in dealing with student run
stations, makes it clear that a repetition of the violation
will not be dealt with so leniently.
301, - The FCC has been in an
"understanding" mode this month, modifying or waiving fines
for some situations. KTZZ in Conrad, MT was running an STL
without a license (7/24/13, below). When the FCC cited the
owner, she pleaded poverty. The Field Agent did report that
KTZZ stopped the unauthorized transmissions. The
Order reminds the station that such leniency may not
be granted in future.
Cazenovia (NY) College's WITC was the benficiary of the
FCC's recent William Penn University Policy: a student-run
station can be let off easy for a first-time violation of
certain rules. In this case,
WITC will donate $1k to the US Treasury and devise a
complaince program to prevent re-occurance of their Public
- It is important during a transfer to make sure all the
necessary paperwork is done. That includes changing the
ownership information on the ASRN (tower registration).
Alpha & Omega Communications did not do this for their West
Valley, UT tower, incurring
a Forfeiture Order for $2.4k (marked down 20%).
- Pittman Broadcasting received two Forfeiture Orders totalling
in Lafayette and Franklinton, LA. The fines stem from a
series of EAS and over-powerviolations (see
5/30/13, below). While the stations
claimed inability to pay, the FCC declined to reduce the
fines, although the $15k fine for KVOL was reduced to $14k
somewhere along the line.
The owner of KGNT, Smithfield, UT received a
Forfeiture Order for $9.2k, marked down from $14k.
The company, Frandsen Media, claimed that the violations,
for excessive RFR in public areas and running the
transmitter ERP at 156%, should be reduced or cancelled due
to vandalism at the site. The FCC responded that the station
apparently knew of the issue since 2005, but not inspected
the site for five months prior to their inspection.
- Latin Broadcasting in Dallas Center, IA was the recipient of a
Forfeiture Order for $14k. The company tried several
excuses, which the FCC did not accept. They did win a $3k
reduction for a record of prior compliance.
You will note the FCC is a bit frustrated with Birach
Broadcasting. After several cases where fines were issued
for inadequate tower fencing - and $27k in fines - Birach
acknowledged it knew the fences at WWCS in Cannonburg, PA
needed repairs. The fine was augmented to
an NALF for $12k - now $39k in tower fence related
fines - and an order for the company to report on all their
towers and the status of the fencing.
Many stations have de-lit a tower or three and saved a lot
of money - there are many cases where the lighting consumes
more power than the transmitter! However, to de-light a
tower requires permission from the FCC, even if the FAA says
it is OK. Duhamel Broadcasting in Rapid CIty, SD just
an NALF for $10k - and is required to turn the
lights back on, even though they had been off for eight
6/19/14 - -
301, 333, 302,
2.803, 2.805, 2.807, 15.1(c),
15.3(o), and 15.201 (and maybe the kitchen sink, too) -
The FCC has previously fined companies that make signal
jammers, as well as users, but this is planned to be
the largest fine ever issued by the Commission: $34.9
million. Of course, the big question is whether the FCC
can collect from CTS, a Chinese company that sells the units
on the Internet. FCC personnel bought 10 of them, to be
test, and the result is a demand to stop making and selling
the units, and to provide a list of who bought them. Again,
the big question is whether the FCC can actually enforce
6/9/14 - 17.50
Failure to maintain lighting exposed another violation at
two towers: failure to conform to the terms of
NAL for $10k pointed out that the tower's ASR
authorization specified painting the tower. In fact, the
tower owner, Dalrymple Realty in Elmira, NY had installed
white lights ten years ago but not kept the paint up to
date. When the obstruction light failed in July 2013, no
NOTAM was filed and agents discovered the variation.
NAL for $15K was assessed against Northeast Passage
Corp, in Hightstown, NJ.
6/9/14 - 73.3526 -
Vision Latina in Port Neches, TX dodged at $25k fine due to
poor finances. (see 4/2/12 below) The FCC had previous
reduced it to $500, but will now settle for an admonishment
to the former operators of KBPO.
A reduction from $10k to
a Forfeiture Order of $6k was won by WWRR in Scranton,
PA. The initial violation was (see 1/31/11, below), that
alhough EAS gear was on order at one station it did not have
a working unit nor were tests being run when inspected. The
fact the EAS unit was on order, plus a good reputation got
the $4k reduction.
6/4/14 - 73.3526 -
When 24 Issues & Program lists are not in the Public File,
the FCC considers that a fairly bad move, and therefore
an NAL for $10k was issued to WMMG in Brandenburg,
KY. In reply, the station made an argument they should not
have: Claiming a history of compliance that was ... erm ...
not a history of compliance.
Lock the gate!
The FCC rule is that there mus be "an effective locked
fence" around an AM tower. The engineer for WENY in
Southport, NY left the gate unlocked for six days before an
FCC agent discovered the problem. Ka-Ching: the
NAL for $7k was issued to Sound Communications, the
17.51 - The KAGM-FM Joint Partnership in Strasburg, CO ducked
a $15k NAL for failing to light their tower and
properly monitor and log observations. In an unusual
resolution, the FCC dropped the fine and put an Admonishment
int he station file. This after an agent discovered the
outage nearly four months after power was disconnected due
to non-payment of the electric bill.
All it takes is a relatively minor error in programming a
remote control to cause big problems.
An NAL for $6k was issued to WIFI in
Florence, NJ, for running day power until 10:30PM. The Real Life Broadcasting station was observed to have
had no field intensity changes after sunset. Ka-ching. The
thing is, not only did the field agents discover the station
had programmed the computer to change power at 10:30PM, two
hours after sunset, but this station was cited for similar
violation in 2009. Add $2k to the $4k base fine.
301, 333, 302,
2.803, 2.805, 2.807, 15.1(c),
15.3(o), and 15.201 - You will probably admit that you
would love to have a cell phone jammer - especially every
time you get cut off or are nearly the victim of a crash and
see the other driver is talking on a cell phone.
Unfortunately the FCC is not sympathetic and tossed a litany
of technical violations, issuing
an NAL for $48k to Jason Humphries, in Seffner, FL,
for running a cell jammer for almost two years, PLUS
emphasizing the point by issuing a
- $89,200. That is the fine issued in
an NALF to WPHA-CD, Philadelphia. The D.T.V,
LLC-owned station received the full ire of the FCC, not just
for operating at an unauthorized site, not just for
violating the Main Studio rules, but for refusing FCC Field
Agents access to the facility on several occasions. Leaving
FCC agents outside locked gates and telling them to come
back later is not a good idea. In fact, the FCC said: "This
is simply unacceptable."
(Thanks, Tim Sawyer)
The FCC issued a
Forfeiture Order for $4.2k to Coastal Television
Broadcasting Co of Anchorage, AK for a four and a half year delay in notification
of a tower ownership change (see
4/17/14 - 73.3527
- The FCC Order affirmed
the NAL for $10k to WTXR, Toccoa Falls College in Georgia (see
5/12/12 below). However, the FCC exercised its relatively new policy
of giving NCEFM stations a break under some circumstances,
where students were involved and money an issue. The fine
was changed to a
$1k donation to the Treasury and a compliance program.
WTXR (and similar stations) are urged the break is not to be
4/4/14 - 73.3539
Failure to file the License Renewal application on time
NALF for $7k to DWBRY in Woodbury, TN (the "D" in
the call sign means deleted). The station did not pay the
renewal fee on time, hence the Renewal Application was
dismissed. Because the station moved to correct matters as
soon as the FCC inquired, the fine was reduced by $6k and
reinstatment/renewal of the license will be allowed.
WTRI in Brunswick, MD received
an NALF for $5k after having gone silent several
times, and not properly informing the FCC.
Sections 301, 302(b), 333,
2.805(a), and 15.1(c) - Not strictly broadcast, but this
highlights Part 15 and other issues: R&N Manufacturing in
Houston, TX received
an NALF for $29,250 for the use of a cellphone
jammer to prevent employees from using their cellphones
while at work. The Commission takes a dim view of this, but
allowed a 25% reductionin the fine (from $39k) because R&N
surrendured the jamming transmitter.
3/25/14 - 73.3526 - Entertainment Media Trust
received a reduction due to inability to pay for one of the
fines issued on 5/19/11 (below) for lack of public acces to
the Public File. The reduction from $24k to $8.5k came in
a Forfeiture Order.
The cowboy song might beg "Don't Fence Me In," but the FCC
requires sufficient fencing aound towers. WDJZ in
Bridgeport, CT, received
an NALF for $10k, due to poor/missing fences around
its three towers. Unfortunately for WDJZ, when field agents
returned over a year later, the fences were still not
repaired, which added $3k to the base fine of #7k.
- Failure to conduct a
contest according to announced terms resulted in
an $8k NALF being issued to South Central
Communications' stations in and around Evansville, IN. As
the contest was conducted over four stations, the FCC
decided to double the fine to $8k. Another station, WEJK in
Boonville, IN, programmed by South Central, also received
their own $4k NALF.
- WLBH AM & FM in Mattoon, IL, received a major gift from the FCC:
a 96% reduction the fine issued on 5/14/11 (see below). The
Forfeiture Order for $500 included a warning that
the station could not count on similar reductions for any
- KPSO-FM in Falfurrias, TX shut down every day at 7PM for almost
four years. The FCC was notified on the Renewal Application
and noted no STA had been sought our granted.
An NALF for $5k was issued for not meeting minimum
A quarrel on the board of station KWRR, Elethe, WY. The
station self-reported the lack of two Issues & Programs
lists. The EB noted the efforts the station put for to
recreate the "looted" Public File, and reduced the normal
$10k fine to
an NALF for $1k.
3/11/14 - A Part 15
NALF for $25k indicates the FCC is responding to
complaints. This one is also in the 900 MHz band, suggesting
the complainants might be cellular companies (similar to the
LTE complaints). In any event, the key to this one is a
previous complaint and warning from the FCC. The new
complaint got a pair of $10k fines and $5k for ignoring the
Public File violations brought a very cold day to Icicle
Broadcasting: the message was in NALs for $46k to
four Icicle stations,
KOHO-FM, Leavenworth, WA,
KOSI(AM), Chelan, WA,
KOSI-FM, Chelan, WA, and
KZAL, Manson, WA. The normal $10k fine was enhanced for
three stations due to the length of the violations. And, if
that were not enough, the cold enforcement wakeup shower
continued: License renewals for four years, half the normal
- OK, one more time: it is illegal to use EAS tones for
anything but EAS activations. No movie trailers, no news
reports, no silliness. The FCC is not amused. This
NAL for $1.9 million to Disney, Viacom, and
NBCUniversal push off all excuses - including weasel-wording
from lawyers saying it was not "transmitted," or it was not
false, or it was "obvious." Broadcasters, cable networks,
anyone who transmits or causes to be transmitted the EAS
tones will find themselves in hot water. That is the FCC's
strong message. Got it?
17.51 - Kemp Broadcasting received
an NALF for $14k for repeated lighting violations on
their Moapa, NV tower. The fine was increased 40% because of
repeated failure to call the FCC for a NOTAM and the six
month delay in making repairs. The FCC agents were also
unimpressed that the visual inspection was usually done
"twice a month."
2/20/14 - A
couple in Austin, Texas have tried a novel approach to avoiding the
FCC's Regulations and a fine for operating an unlicensed
station: Texas is not part of the US. While many observers
might tend to agree with the basic sentiment, the FCC was
not amused at Walter Olenick and Rae Nadler-Olenick's demand
that they see a treaty between Texas and the International
An NALF for $15k is the result. However, it is
likely this is not over.
The Commission's response is in, after Cochise
Broadcasting's excuses for why a field agent was unable to
locate a Main Studio no Public Files for KOMJ in Omaha, NE
(See 8/1/13) below.
The NALF for $17k notes that it takes personnel and
equipment to equal a Main Studio and leaving a message on a
phone answering machine in another state does not meet the
requirement for Public Files to be available during business
Another station that apparently felt it did not need EAS
gear. This time it was in a large market. JCE Licenses,
owner of KBDX-AM in Dallas, TX received
an NALF for $9k for not having an operational EAS
receiver nor logs to indicate when and why a receiver was
2/10/14 - 73.1212
Almost exactly two years after getting the NAL for $44k,
Cumulus' WLS in Chicago got
a Forfeiture Order for failure to properly identify
advertisements. The 11 misleading announcements (see 2/6/12
below) were tagged for $4k each. The news report cum
advertisement is quoted in the FO, which was issued while
WLS was owned by Citadel. None of the appeals or excuses
("it was inadvertent employee errors") to moderate the fine
were deemed acceptable.
Pacific Empire Radio Corporation in La Grande, OR netted
a $25k Forfeiture
Order from the FCC for Public File violations. The
fine, originally assessed 5/22/12 (see below) was reduced
from $50k, but the company appealed, wanting a further
reduction or wavier. The FCC declined and affirmed the fine.
A TV station in Ogden, UT received
an NALF for $9k for failure to have an operating EAS
receiver and logs. The station, KPNZ, operated from a Main
Studio in Salt Lake City, but had a Master Control in
Burbank, CA. With all the logistics, they never ensured the
EAS operated properly, hence the fine.
Northeastern Illinois University receceived a $9k reduction
from the $10k fine for failure to have all the Issues &
Programs items in the Public File.
The NAL for $1k refected the fact that WZRD was
honest and straightforward with the FCC, and had a
reasonably credible excuse for part of the problem.
Steckline Communications received
Forfeiture Orders for $42k today, bringing to an end
(for now) the violations originally noted on 12/14/12 (see
below for the long list of violations). The usual run of
appeals and excuses did not find favor at the FCC, so the
NAL is now a
2/5/13 - 73.3539
Failure to file the License Renewal application on time
NAL for $2.4k to KWBM(TV) in Harrison, AR. The Word of
God Fellowship station was over three and a half months
late, last year in filing. A good previous record with the
FCC allowed for a $600 reduction.
- Yes, there were Public File
items missing, but the major issue the FCC found in issuing
an NALF for $4k and short term renewal (only two years)
to KOME-FM in Meridian, TX, was that the station was silent
for nearly half its existence, coming on for only short
periods of time to avoid 12 consecutive months of silence.
The FCC notes "it is clear to us that Licensee's conduct
has fallen far short of that which would warrent routine
license renewal." This is intended as a warning to
stations that pretend to serve a community but pop on the
air for only a few hours a year; their licenses are not
You have likely often heard how important it is to tell the
FCC the truth, what you did and when you did it.
Evidence that it is not a good idea to try to "fudge" facts
is shown by a footnote in
an NALF for $10k issued to Omaha Dirt and Wire
in Omaha, NE. The
footnote (#6) notes that agents in Kansas City, MO used
Google Earth to verify that the tower actually had been
repainted. The fine stood because the station did not
repaint until it was inspected. (Warning: this procedure
might also yield other "remote inspections" for fencing,
Perhaps you wonder why Onda Mexicana has been issued
an NALF for $8k (the fine was doubled) for
repeatedly not responding to Commission requests for
information and explanation. WWFL in Clermont, FL still
needs to answer for a
litany of violations, ranging from lack of proper
fencing, lack of station log, lack of Public File, lack of
Chief Operator, lack of EPM, and studio location not as
authorized. The owner claims he eventually responded to the
Tampa office, but the FCC says it was not complete and not
sent where he was told to respond. This matter will
continue. Cue the lawyers!
An LPFM in Greenville, TX was granted a $2k reduction and a
Forfeiture Order for $5k after having been cited for
not having an operating EAS machine in 2012. The Iglesia Cristiana Ebenezer's KYLP-LP
did order and install an EAS, but the violation stands, as
does the warning that a reduction this time does not mean a
future reduction will be permitted.
Two in two weeks - maybe it is time to check your fences?
Birach Broadcasting received this
NAL for $10k for its WTOR operation in Youngstown,
NY. The Field Agent found the towers were not secure, one
gate completely removed and laying on the ground, foliage
growing through the fences, several in really bad shape, and
missing significant sections. The normal $7k fine was
increased to $10k because Birach had previously been cited
for a similar violation.
Failure to maintain an effective locked fence around AM
an NALF for $7k to the Catholic Church, licensee of
WKVM in San Juan, PR. The fence, said to be damaged in a
storm six months before the field agent's inspection, was
missing sections, as was the fence around the entire
- If your staff has not gotten the message as yet, the FCC
has "had enough" of the misuse of EAS tones in
advertisements - wherever they are, not just over the air.
NAL for $200k was issued to Turner Networks for
running 14 advertisements with EAS tones in them during a
six-day period in 2013 - despite assurances from an earlier
violation that procedures would change. The
Public Notice issued at the same time makes it
clear, this is not going to be a "we forgot" or "sorry, our
mistake" issue any longer.
Pacifica Foundation's KPFK in Los Angeles netted at $1k fine
in the NAL for Forfeiture after admitting on their
Renewal Application that they had missed filing four of the
Issues & Programs Lists.
The FCC issued a
Forfeiture Order to close the account with KPIO in
Loveland, CO. Back in 2011 (See 10/31/11 below), the
Commission found the Catholic Radio Network station
operating above its authorized power. Although it did not
accept the excuse of malfunctioning equipment, the $4k fine
was reduced to $3.2k
- Excuses. In June 2011,
WLSW, Scottdale, PA was tagged with
an NAL for $15k for missing
ll their quarterly Issues & Programs lists.
Originally, the station claimed that "a person or persons had gone through the
file and that some items had been removed.... " The station committed
to replacing or constructing new files to replace the missing ones. A
followup inspection revealed - surprise - that there were no
Issues & Programs lists. This time "the snow ate it" and/or
the files were in storage somewhere else. The FCC was not
persuaded, although they did reduce the file - this time
only - to $7500.
- When the old hands tell you
not to lie to the FCC - even if it gets you in trouble -
that really is the best practice. Often the FCC will work
with a company that is not hiding anything, and is working
to fix a problem. On the other hand, if after two years, the
violation continues, and the station checks "no" on the
Renewal Application when it asks the station to certify that
it has been doing what is required, an NAL for Forfeiture is
going to happen. This week, it is KBAA in Grass Valley, CA
that got an
NALF for $10k. The good news is that their License
Renewal was granted.
12/5/13 - EEO
is one of the touchiest as most annoying requirements placed
on stations. License renewals get held up and/or fines
are assessed for missing even minor parts of the EEO
"dance." Clear Channel's Chicago cluster was been issued
an NAL for Forfeiture for $20k - largely for failing
to notify all organizations requesting job opening
information. The EB says they violated procedure in 33 of 36
hires in a two year period - in some cases missing as few as
three organizations. There is also a regular
"self-assessment" requirement. No wonder EEO problems and
complexities drive many stations to take a deep breath and
write checks to their DC attorneys for navigation of the EEO
Rules and procedures.
NAL for $20k went to Maryland Public Broadcasting.
12/2/13 - The
FCC issued a list of
eight radio stations in California that did not file
renewal applications and, if they are still on the air, are
unauthorized. Fines may follow.
11/18/13 - 73.3539
Being ill is not sufficient reason for being late with a
license renewal, but the FCC is not totally heartless, they
want you to know. Stations KELG, Manor TX, KOKE,
Pflugerville, TX, and KTXZ, West Lake Hills TX, were two
months late in filing their renewal, and two weeks late in
requesting an STA when the licenses terminated. The
Memorandum and Opinion and NAL for $18k notes the
late filing and unauthorized operation could have totalled
$39k, but they discounted it by $21k.
Just because you have an STL license does not mean you can
use it on any frequency. WSJU-TV in San Juan, PR, had a
proposed fine of $10k, but the
Forfeiture Order issued was for $4k, acknowledging
the license, but not forgiving the unauthorized frequency.
11/14/13 - 73.3539
If you are late with a renewal, what do you do? Turn it in,
and make sure you ask for an STA if necessary. Although WTKN
in Corinth, MS was given
an NAL for $1.5k, the FCC did reduce it 50% because
the station tried to "recover" from their error.
11/14/13 - 74.1234
A rather complex series of filings related to translators,
moving, CPs, STAs, and co-channel interference uncovered the
fact that Apple 107.1 Inc. in New York City had no access
nor control of a translator outside of business hours. The
NAL for $3k did not affect the rest of the issues,
where Apple 107.1's requests prevailed.
- The FCC finally has issued more than a mere Public Notice
regarding the use of EAS tones (and sound alikes) in ads,
promos, and programning. Bottom line: it is illegal.
An NAL with a rather large fine - $25k has been assessed to
Turner Broadcast for violating this rule. Turner claims
it 'wasn't exactly' EAS tones
- Meanwhile, the FCC has allowed Bowling Green, KY station
WNKY(DT) to escape an NAL with a consent decree.
While WNKY did admit using EAS tones, and it appears
they did take action to stop the violation, but it was in a
local commercial. Therefore, to close the books, the station
agreed to $39k as a "voluntary contribution" to reduce the
If you are
still not sure how serious the FCC considers this (Do not
even think of running the old "musical EBS Test!") ...
check this and also
this one. The Commission has apparently encouraged
the regional heads to send out these last two to local SBE
17.51 - Another Alaskan tower owner fell afoul of the FCC
rules regarding daily verification of proper operation and
an NAL and Forfeiture Order for $10k. The key
issues: lights were out, but no NOTAM was filed with the
FAA. An operator is required to visually inspect tower
lights every 24 hours,
unless an automated system is in place to do so (with an
alarm when the system fails). ACS Wireless did
not, and is being asked to pay.
302(b) - A proceeding from 2009 has culminated in a
Forfeiture Order to Richfield Electronics (China)
for $18k for producing and selling FM transmitters that
violated the Rules.
17.57 - The FCC looks dimly (pun intended) upon
towers that do not light as required. Johnson Towers Corp in
Pinellas Park, FL had three towers. They requested to light
only one, and that was granted. However, the lit tower was
"accidently knocked down in 2006." Six years later, an FCC
Field Agent responded to an expired NOTAM and found two
towers with no lights. Over the next year and a half, the
agent noted that, despite his warnings, the towers were
still not lit.
The NAL and Forfeiture Order for not updating the
registration was tripled to $9k. Each remaining tower was
cited for willful and repeated, for the maximum
allowed, $112.5k. Total: $234k. It will take a lot of
tower rentals to cover that.
The rest of the story: You know there has to be
more, right? This was a three-tower AM DA that lost one of
its towers, according to
the STA form, when a housing construction worker clipped
a guy wire and killed a tower. The DA reduced power to
maintain monitor points - and the station owner is in good
shape with the FCC. The landowner has been in extensive
litigation with the county to get a permit to rebuild the
tower, for seven years. The AM station continues to explore
its options with the remaining two towers.
The FCC's beef - the lack of tower lights - stands, since
the tower owner could have (should have) installed lights on
the remaining towers but chose not to do so.
Forfeiture Order for $8k (reduced from $10k) was
issued to KUKY in Welton, AZ for not having the Public
Information File available. The Commission did accept an
excuse that the employee did not fully understand the
request due to a language issue and did not direct the Field
Agent to the local library, where the PIF was located.
Failure to provide a Public File for a Field Agent (Seel
7/29/11, below) netted an NAL for KFOX, Torrance, CA. In
to HK Media, the Commission did reduce the amount from $10k
to $8k because the station had a good history of compliance.
73.1125(a) - Another
Forfeiture Order in an older case was issued to
WQOR, Olyphant, PA had its $10,000 forfeiture reduced to
$1.5k for the violation of Main Studio rule (See 12/3/10,
below) due to inability to pay. However, the Commission did
point out that repeated violations would not get similar
- Failure to maintain the EAS receiver so that alerts can
run while the station is unattended (See 1/14/13 below)
brought an NAL to Centro Colegial Cristiano's WVID. This
Forfeiture Order was issued, dropping the fine from
$8k to $6.4k
10/29/13 - 73.1350 -
Hoosier Public Radio Corp was issued
an NAL for $8k.
The fine to the owners of WRFM-FM was doubled for the
unauthorized broadcasting approximately 3 miles from its
licensed location. The station claimed to have had an STA,
but it was apparently for another location.
Telling the FCC on the License Renewal for that you did not
place six sets of Issues & Programs lists in the Public
Information File (18 months) is not going to bring a
commendation for honesty. About the only positive for the
station was the FCC's
NAL for $4k issued to WMKG-CA was discounted from
When you transfer the ownership of a tower, it must be
reported to the FCC. That less will cost Coastal Television
Broadcasting Co of Anchorage, AK
an NAL for $4.2k. The fine was adjusted up due to
the four and a half year delay in notification. In fact, the
listed contact on file had not been valid for 10 years.
There is no better indication that the Sheriff is back in
town than the return of NALs to the FCC's Daily Actions. And
the flow has begun.
10/25/13 - 301 -
"Willful and Repeatedly" was the key to
the more than doubling of a fine to a trio of stations that
moved STLs without authorization. Four Corners Broadcasting
in Durango, CO. moved the STLS for three stations 0.6 mile
from the licensed site and operated for 6 years without
filing proper applications for relocation. The
NAL for $25k more than doubled the $4k per STL fine.
Iglesia Ebenezer in Greenville, TX got its NAL for moving
its translator without authorization. Operating that way for
17 months brought the
NAL for $8k.
The bill has arrived for Steckline Communications KQAM and
KSGO in Wichita, KS (The NOV was issued 12/14/12 - see
below) and the NALs have now been released. A total of
$42k in fines were issued for a whole series of
violations by these two directional AM stations. The litany
of violations and the tab for
KQAM is here, as is
the KSGO bill.
A snapshot of what TV stations are dealing with - and radio
may soon be in the same boat. Abundant Life Broadcasting's
K20JX-D failed to place certain documents in its Public
Information File - now on line for television stations. It
failed to respond to FCC inquiries and netted
a Forfeiture Order for $14.4k, reduced from $16k.
9/27/13 - The
FCC continues issuing a long series of NALs for Class A TV
stations failing to file a timely report on Children's
Television. Some are as high as $20k, and there are also
With all the publicity given to FCC enforcement of Public
File requirements, it is somewhat surprising that we still
see regular examples of failure to be in compliance. Today's
FCC notices include
an NAL for $12k issued to KGLP in Gallup, NM, for
missing 21 quarters of Issues and Programs Lists from their
Public File. The Commission increased the fine to Gallup
Public Radio from $10k to recognize the "extensive" nature
of the violation - there was also a short (4 year) renewal.
9/23/13 - 73.3539
Another late Renewal, another fine. This time WDKA-TV in
Paducah, KY. The filing was over a month last, but before
the license actually expired. Due to the station's "good
record" with the FCC, the late filing netted
an NAL of only $1.5k.
9/18/13 - 73.3539
When the FCC says to file applications on time, they do not
kid around. DWHEW (the "D" stands for Deleted) in Franklin,
TN, not only received
an NAL for $7k, but had their license revoked. This
follows the station missing several filing deadlines, even
after an STA was granted. Curiously, the FCC still showed
enormous patience, allowing a reinstatement of the license
if they pay the forfeiture and file the necessary paperwork.
The story is not over yet!
17.51 - The FCC expects tower owners to know any lighting
requirements are being met - and prompt notification to the
FAA when failures occur. Failing to either visually inspect
the lights each day or install a working alarm system on at
55.8m tower - and then not notifying the FAA doubled
an NAL to $20k to GCI Communication Corp in
Fairbanks, AK. The Commission noted the company has "annual
revenues in the hundreds of millions of dollars" - and
increased the fine to send a message they do not want such
fines to be "a cost of doing business."
In general, if the FCC sets a deadline for filing an
application, applicants should not think of them as "serving
suggestions." Even missing the date by one day could have
financial repercussions. Two NALs, each for $3k,
demonstrate that point, one of the was
for missing the deadline by just one day.
- It is not enough to have a CAP-enabled EAS box. You have to plug it
in. That appears to be the essence of the
NOV issued to WZOT in Rockmart, GA. Over a year past the
requirement to have the EAS-CAP receiver on line, the Field Agent
noted that "The required CAP-formatted EAS equipment was not connected
to a power source."
Cochise Broadcasting's KOMJ in Omaha, NE was hard to find when the
field agent tried to inspect it on August 1st. In fact, according to
the FCC, the agent could not find the Main Studio of Ted Tucker's
operation. The station's webpage gave no location; the "local phone
number" transferred to a recording for stations in Arizona. The FCC
records showed a Wyoming Post Office Box, and the contact number was
an attorney in Virginia. The studio location given by the attorney
turned out to belong to another company, which said the Main Studio
was not there. Nor was the Public Information File.
The NOV issued to Cochise Broadcasting directs the company to
identify its Main Studio location.
KCID in Caldwell, ID was a bit shy of required paperwork when a field
agent visited their studios in Boise. Accordingly
an NOV was issued. There was no current EAS plan in the
Control Room with CAP information; there was no EAS Operating Handbook
on hand either; the Sage Endec was not connected to the Internet, so
it was unable to access CAP messages; the most recent Issues and
Programs List was not in the Public Information File; there was no
Chief Operator designation in writing; a current Equipment Performance
Measurement report was not on hand.
7/30/13 - 73.1212 -
Consent Decree was released today, requiring a $15k donation
to the US Treasury, having admitted to running commercials with the
identity of the sponsor concealed. Additionally, Townsquare Media
(successor to Regent Broadcasting of El Paso) also will
need to administer a complex plan to prevent a repeat of the
infraction, including staff training and dismissal of anyone who
violates the rule in the future. (Basically, the stations ran spots
for "The Cigarette Outlet" but left out the word "cigarette."
301 - Do you have an license for your rf STL? Are you sure?
Jeannine Mason's station KTZZ in Conrad, WY operated for over a year
without one until an FCC Field Agent noticed the unauthorized
transmissions. Although the station shut their rf STL down and went to
a phone line STL, the FCC issued
an NAL for $10k for transmission without a license.
7/18/13 - 73.1350 -
Fellowshipworld's WFWO, Medina NY, station was issued
an NAL for $8k. The fine was doubled for the unauthorized
broadcasting 36 miles from its licensed location, noting that after
agreeing to turn off the offending transmitter, the station turned it
back on. An excuse claiming the landlord was removing trees was
Public File must be available at the station's Main Studio or properly
designated location in the community. Locating them at a co-owned
station in another city is not permitted. This led to
a $25k NAL for Forfeiture from the FCC to two Western Slope
stations in Rifle and Glenwood Springs, CO. KRGS and KRGV were both
fined $10k for missing 20 of 27 quarterly Issues and Programs reports
locally. And due to the number of missing reports, the fines were
Public File violations usually start at $10k. However, in a case where
six years of Issues & Programs Lists were missing, the FCC reduced the
an NAL for Forfeiture for $1k for each station. Why did KXEO/KWWR,
Mexico, MO merit this reduction? The Commission accepted the excuse
that a former manager walked out with the files - and tried to sell
them back to the station for $100k.
6/27/13 - 73.3539
KSRA AM & FM, Salmon, Idaho were only five years late in filing for
license renewal in 2011 (See 10/20/11 below). The FCC today pushed
this to a
Forfeiture Order - $26k worth.
(FM Forfeiture here)
6/25/13 - 73.3539
Someone at the FCC EB apparently got confused with "cut and paste" and
an NAL for $1,200 to translator K265AS
Livingston, Montana for late filing on a Renewal application and
operation without a license.
The only problem: The NAL lists an expiration date of October 2005 for
a Renewal application due on April 1, 1998 - and asserts the licensee
did not file for renewal until ... December 2001.
Perhaps an "erratum" notice will be issued. Any guesses?
5/30/13 - 11.35,
Lack of an operating EAS receiver and logs work up the FCC Fine
Machine woke up this morning with a lot of ca-chings. The unfortunate
recipient of the NAL for Foreiture and Order is Pittman Broadcasting
in Louisiana. Fines totalling $37.5k were issued for two
KVOL (AM) and
WUUU-FM, including adjustments of about $7.5k.
At the time of inspection in 2012, the EAS receiver was inoperative. A
claim of a recent lightning strike was rendered moot by the lack of
EAS logs for some eight or nine months. Then there was the matter of
the paint on the antenna was faded, and the beacon was out for 9
months, with no current FAA notication since the light failed. Add to
that operating a 5 kW signal at night, when the license said 1 kW -
oh, did we mention this is not the first time KVOL has been caught
doing it? Result: $37.5k to pay to reduce the US deficit. At least
that is how it looks on paper.
Over two years without tower lights cost Union Broadcasting an
enhanced fine of
$15k for their NALF. The tower in N ashua, MO was unlit from
August 2010 to December 2012. The FCC noticed the apparent lack of
concern for aircraft safety.
5/13/13 - A major gift to student-run
NCEFM stations. The FCC has issued
a Policy Statement and Order in connection with a William Penn
University's KIGC in Oskaloosa, IA. Recognizing that routine fines
levied for some violations may exceed the total income of a station -
and motivate colleges and universities to simply sell off their
stations (only about 500 are left) - the Commission has set up a
procedure where First Time Offenders can sign a Consent
Decree, set up a training program, make a $2,500 contribution to the
US Treasury, and avoid a crippling fine.
For 230 Watt KIGC, it was candor on their License Renewal that got
them into trouble - and generate the new policy. By admitting they
failed to file some forms (Ownership) on time and others (Issues and
Programs) were missing, they were almost guaranteed the FCC's regular
$8k to $10k NAL. The
Consent Decree helped them get past this without going
After noting some of the recent cases where educational FMs were sold
off, as well as that the entire year's budget was $6,650, the FCC
decided to issue the
Policy Statement designed to helps similar student-run
stations survive. The Policy is supposed to offer "one time" relief,
not allowing for endless excuses. But student-run stations should
understand both the benefits of this program - and the need to learn
and perform the requirements for operating a radio station.
A bit out of date order,
it is worth noting that Lotus Communications' KVMX in Bakersfield was
an NOV for overmodulation. While this is still a long way from
the NAL, overmodulation has not been a commonly cited violation in
Steckline Communications has received a total of $27k in fines from
the FCC for fencing, Public File, and Main Studio violations. A
$7k fine on an NAL for Forfeiture was issued for KIUL,
Garden City, KS for a tower fence that was not considered secure. At
their KYUL, Scott City, KS the FCC found no Main Studio with staff nor
a Public File. Steckline shut the station down the next day, but the
FCC found that they had operated over 14 months with no Main Studio
nor Public File. The
NAL for Forfeiture was augmented to $20k.
In Greenville, TX the Iglesia Cristiana Ebenezer's KYLP-LP received an
NAL for Forfeiture for $9k. The LPFM station
had no EAS equipment installed and was not sending and receiving
17.51 - Towers registered under the FCC's ASRN program remain
under the FCC control, even if no broadcast station is on the tower.
In Katy, TX, CenterPoint Energy received
an NAL for Forfeiture for $10k regarding a tower which was
unlit and not properly notifying the FAA - neither for the outage nor
the completed repairs.
- An NAL and Forfeiture Order for $25k went out to Emeraldbrooke
II LLC for a 91 meter antenna in Novi, MI that had no ASR number
posted, faded paint, and the failure to notify the Commission of an
ownership change about ten years ago. The $15k find was increased due
to the "deliberate disregard for the Commission's rules."
73.49 - A
Forfeiture Order for $7k was sent to
JMK Communications' WPWC in Dumfries, VA for a
fencing violation. The original violation (7.18.12, below) stated that
one of the four towers had no fence, the other there were "partial."
The Commission declined to reduce the fine after an excuse of "storm
The Forfeiture Orders continue as the FCC seeks to close the
books on several NALs in the past year or so. This time is for WMAF in
Madison, FL for an inoperative EAS receiver (see 7/9/12, below).
However, this station did get their
$8k fine reduced to $3k by proving severe financial issues.
However, the FCC did say that repeat offences would not receive repeat
(For those interested, the manpower at the EB currently seems to be
focused on the very large number of citations frequently being issued
for 'illegal receipt of Lifeline Support cell service.')
- Forfeiture Orders for $10k were issued to two stations, denying
their appeals against NALs over Issues & Programs lists (See 5/26/11,
below, for more details and link to the original NAL). Stephen Peters,
former licensee of WHAW in Lost Creek, WV and Della Jane Woofter,
licensee of WVRW in Glenville, WV were cited for missing files. Both
stations' were co-located in Weston, WV where the station manager
first said they had no files, then claimed the files were damaged in a
storm and were still "drying out" ... two months later. The FCC
somewhat dryly noted that lists submitted to the FCC later did not
show evidence of water damage.
WOBO(FM) in Batavia, OH was issued
an NALF for $3k as part of a Memorandum Opinion and Order. The
station was judged to have violated underwriting announcement rules
multiple times, but the fine was moderated. Other issues in the MO&O
appear to have stemmed from disagreements of Board members and were
mostly dismissed, although the FCC has forwarded to the Department of
Justice a note that the station did violate Section 1335 of US Code
Title 15, relating to the broadcast of commercials for tobacco
products - a commercial from a program recorded in the latge 1940s.
the date on the
News Release, it appears the FCC has solved much of its backlog of
indecency complaints by - are you ready? - dimissing over a million of
them in the past six months. The Commission directed the Enforcement
Bureau to pursue only the egregious cases and - wait for it! - has
asked for comments on whether to keep the current policy or change it.
KCET in Los Angeles has entered into
an Order and a Consent Decree with the FCC regarding incidents
in 2011 (see 2/7/11 below), where entry to inspect the Public File was
denied to a member of the public - who turned out to be an FCC Field
Agent - citing "security issues." After discussions with the FCC, KCET
has agreed to implement some procedures and practices to prevent a
reoccurrance. the station also will make a $6k "Voluntary
Contribution" to the US Treasury.
Failure to allow timely access to the Public Information File was the
main reason for
a $10k NAL for Forfeiture, issued to CSSI in Weatherford, TX,
on behalf of its six non-comm FMs based in Weatherford. There has been
quite a bit of back and forth on this since 2008, but the FCC is
holding CSSI liable.
The FCC really does not have a lot of patience for stations that do
not quickly take care of tower light failures. Cornerstone Television
an NAL for $15k - increased from $10k because the lights
apparently were out for months at their tower in Brookville, PA
- and there were conflicting stories trying to place the blame on a
neighbor. (When arranging for a neighbor to do a daily visual
inspection, it helps if there is an actual agreement, preferably
written. But even that does not take the responsibility from the
3/13/13 - A pirate station in Boston has been playing
Haitian music and interfering with FAA air traffic communications has
been completely shut down -
US Marshalls came and seized the equipment. According to the
Boston Globe, the station had move at least three times, trying to
3/11/13 - 73.1216
Forfeiture Order for $4k
was issued to Journal Broadcast's KJOT(FM) in Boise, IA for failure to
properly disclose all the terms of a contest.
The failure to report a tower with malfunctioning lights, as well as
not updating tower ownership records brought
an NAL for $14k to Latin Broadcasting Co. in Dallas Center,
IA. The station claimed a report to the FAA was made, but the
Operations Manager did not understand the process due to language.
Interestingly, the logs for dates the FCC knew the lights were out
indicated no problems.
3/7/13 - 73.1350,
73.1590 - Entertainment Media Trust was presented with a
Forfeture Order for $8,500 - reduced from $25K for infractions at St.
Louis, MO area KZQZ was found to not be switching directional
patterns, and with sister KQQZ missing Public Files and NRSC
measurements. (Another NAL against sister stations WZQZ and WQQZ are
also on deck.)
- Failure to notify the Commission of change of ownership of an
antenna structure he purchased eight years ago, brought
an NAL and
Forfeiture Order fine of $6k to Paulino Bernal in Tulia Tx.
11.35 - Another NAL turns into a
Forfeiture Order. This one to LPFM station KCYP-LP where the
fine for $1750 for not having an operating EAS receiver was affirmed.
Failure to properly attenuate out of band emissions was
the source of
Order on Review confirming a $4k fine to Playa del Sol's
K238AK in Palm Desert, CA. The station was interfering with a
3/4/13 - 73.1216
Forfeiture Order for $4k was issued to Greater Boston Radio's
WJMX for "willful and repeated" violation of the FCC's Contest Rules.
In addition to having the rules only on a website, it turns out that
the "free car" was only a two year lease - to someone who qualitifed
There is proof the FCC does occasionally temper fines. Martin
Broadcasting in Beaumont, TX received a
Forfeiture Order for $8k, for tower lighting violations (see 6/5/12
below), a reduction of $2k, due
to a record of previous compliance. The "poverty" excuse did not fly
11.35 - Another
Forfeiture Order, this time for $8k to KDDD AM&FM Dumas, TX
for failure to have an operating EAS receiver for almost three years
The station asked for a reduction because they could not afford it.
The FCC declined to reduce the $8k fine.
Forfeiture Order for $7k was sent to KLRG, Sheridan, AR for a
fencing violation. The original violation stated that as much as half
the fence was down (see 7/20/12 below).
The FCC did not acceprt any of the excuses offered by Wagenvood
Advertising, and reaffirmed the fine.
- Another set of fines are mounting for Mt. Rushmore Broadcasting in Casper,
WY. Their four stations failed to put the Issues & Programs lists in
the Public File for 23 consequent quarters. The $40k in fines were
enhanced to $60k for
KMLD(FM). The NALs included Forfeiture Orders.
This is the same cluster that got $63k in fines last July (7/26/12,
below) for improper STL operation - for as long as 15 years.
KFSD, Escondido CA, received
a Forfeiture Order for $4.8k, for failing to have an operating
EAS receiver. Interestingly, two stations used the same receiver, but
only one appears to have had problems, later identified as "a
2/15/13 - 73.3526
The FCC affirmed
another $8k Forfeiture Order against Lazer Licenses
KSSB in Calipartia, CA for failure to have Issues & Programs lists available.
Various station arguments were rejected, including that the company
had a "record of compliance" (see 1/5/12, below).
- Failure to notify the Commission of change of ownership of an
antenna structure, brought
an NAL and fine of $4,500 to Hacienda San Eliado, in Juncos
2/11/13 - 73.1350,
- Following up on a proceeding from last year, the FCC issued
Memorandum Opinion and Order reaffirming the fine levied April
23, 2012. Operating a translator as much as 280% over power and with a
non-licensed antenna brought
an NAL for $11k to the Ace of Hearts DJ Service in Cape
Canaveral, FL. Protestations that the agents were wrong did not fly
with the Commission.
2/11/13 - Section 301 - We do not
post a lot on the continuing battle with the FCC finding and fining
pirate broadcasters. However, a
Forfeiture Order issued for $25k shows the FCC is losing
patience with some repeat offenders - in this case a pirate who has
operated for at least five years. Despite many pleas of everything
from poverty (one previous fine was reduced from $20k to $500),
undergoing bankruptcy, mail errors, typos, etc, etc, the Commission
now points out that criminal prosecution and confiscation of equipment
are next on the program. The question is: will this finally stop this
1/29/13 - 73.1560
Responding to a complaint, field agents monitored WNAP, Norristown,
PA, and discovered it was at 561% of its authorized power (124 Watts,
instead of 22.1 W).
An NOV was issued.
- Failure to maintain the EAS receiver so that alerts can be broadcast
during hours a station is unmanned netted
an NAL for $8k at WVID, Anasco, PR. The Centro Colegial Cristiano
station admitted someone had to lower or mute the program audio for an
EAS alert to air.
1/20/13 - 73.1350
An NOV was issued to KPFR, Pine Grove, OR, for having its
vertically polarized directional antenna mounted 5 meters lower than
- The EB continues to cite stations that are not monitoring the IPAWS
OPEN CAP server. KKOV, Vancouver WA was given an NOV when a field
agent observed the receiver "was offline from the FEMA's IPAWS
server." With no logs to show reception from August through December,
the NOV was issued.
1/16/13 - Section 302,
1.17(a)(2) -Inter Tech FM's case has now reached the
Forfeiture Notice point, with the fine at $22k. The EB notes
that Inter Tech FM did not respond to the earlier Notice of Apparent
A translator owned by Calvary Chapel of Twin Falls, ID was given an
NOV for failure to have a visible sign at their translator W208BB
in Highland Park, MI giving the require contact information.
1/9/13 - EAS ALERT: If you were wondering when the FCC was going
to enforce the requirements for stations to monitor IPAWS OPEN CAP
feeds, wonder no longer.
An NOV was issued to KPRI, San Diego for not having records of
monitoring the CAP feeds nor reasons why tests were not received.
A transmitter made for Part 15 use was found out of band, and hence a
non-permitted use. (This is a frequency band often used by
broadcasters for unlicensed STL applications, for example.) After a
complaint from the FAA, Directlink received
an NAL for $25k for being 115 MHz below the authorized band -
and interfering with some of the FAA's radar gear.
1/3/13 - 73.3526
As readers of this page know, Public File rule violations are among
the most frequent reasons for Enforcement Bureau action. And the EB
has started 2013 of with, you guessed it, a Public File rule
violation. WEKC, Williamsburg, KY received
an NAL for $15k for failure to keep the Issues & Programs
lists. Seeing that this was a repeat offense was the reason for the
extra $5000 in fines.
12/14/12 - Steckline Communications was
another company which seems to have been found, upon inspection, to
have more than a few "problems. NOVs were issued to
KGSO, Wichita, KS, and
KGYN, Guymon, OK. Steckline's operations were tagged for:
Over power operation (156% of night time
Monitoring points out of tolerance and
no action taken.
Antenna monitor readings out of
tolerance and no action taken.
No station logs to account for out of
The Issues & Programs lists had no
programs on them.
Over power operation (141% of daytime
power) for over 24 hours.
No alarm system for improper
Two of three monitor points out of
Antenna monitor out of service for 6
months without notice/permission.
Broken wooden fence around a tower base.
Missing Antenna Registration Number.
Missing EAS Log.
Failure of Chief Operator to review logs
12/13/12 - NOVs were issued to the
former licensee of two Nevada stations,
KWNA-FM, Winnemucca NV, for a raft of violations. Given all the
publicity this year on Public File and EAS issues, it will be
interesting to see how this one shakes down as the NAL is issued:
Interference with a Department of
Interior Firefiighter frequency
Apparently no EAS receiver, no tests, no
proper monitoring of EAS Plan assignments, nor documentation
prior to 8/13/12
No weekly log check by Chief Operator
Missing political records from the
No station authorization available
Missing Ownership Report from Public
Missing Issues & Programs lists from the
Public File - none were on file
Ely Radio, LLC was asked to respond.
12/7/12 - Another
NAL for $3k was issued on 7/5/12
to James Lout in New Llano, LA, for being about a week late with his
301, after winning the auction. It is now a
12/4/12 - 73.3526
Radio stations are back on the EB's firing line again. Hayco
Broadcasting's two stations in Celina, OH, WCSM and WCSM-FM self
reported on their Renewal that they had not placed all the required
documentation in the Public File - at least nine Issues & Programs
lists were missing in 2004 and 2006.
The NAL for $20K was issued, $10k for each station.
12/4/12 - 73.1350,
- Failure to respond promptly to the FCC, operating from an
unauthorized site, and being silent without authorization brought a
Forfeiture Order for $18k to
the now deleted DWVUV, Leone, American Samoa. The
Commission rejected various arguments and, for the second time, affirmed the fine.
12/4/12 - Section 302,
1.17(a)(2) -Inter Tech FM was
tagged in 2009 with an NAL of $18k for marketing
unauthorized FM transmitters in the US
with the trade name "Cybermax." The FCC now makes it
a Forfeiture Order.
11/21/12 - Apparently vacation time at
the EB is over!
An NAL for $13k. And the winner is: W40CN-D Waubonsee
Community College's station in Sugar Grove, IL did not file with the
Commission nor place their Children's Television Programming report in
the Public File during a conversion from LPTV to a Class A station.
The Commission did not accept the explanation that the station did not
think they had to file the forms.
Another ... and there seems to be a large string of these fines for this
issue. For examle, W33BY in Detroit, MI got another of
the $13k NALs. There are more, but the basic story is
the same: electronic filings were not made and the paper reports are
missing. "Willful and repeated" replies the FCC.
10/16/12 - It may be hard to
believe, but the FCC Daily Digest has not reported any real
broadcast-based fines so far this month. There was a big blast this
week about companies selling cell phone jammers on Craig's List, etc,
but either the EB was on vacation or stations have suddenly become
"perfect" in compliance. The best guess: this lull is almost over.
9/28/12 - 73.3526
The failure to maintain a Public File properly was the cause of
an NAL for $15k to KESQ in Indio, CA. Gulf-California
Broadcasting had no Issues & Programs lists since 2005. Excuses that a
company with a Time Brokerage Arrangement was responsible did not gain
any favor; indeed, the fine was upped by $5k.
17.51 - Another tower lighting issue: Cox Communications
NAL for $20k for not having had proper lighting on their
300-foot tower at Portsmouth, VA. The fine was doubled when Cox
admitted they had not done the quarterly lighting system inspections
and did not know the system was not alarming.
9/27/12 - 73.3526
KPIR, Granbury, TX was granted a $2k reduction in their fine, as noted
Forfeiture Order for $8k. As noted below (2/7/12), the station
was unable to provide its Public File to Field Agents.
- And now, three: James Cable, LLC was handed a Forfeiture
Order for $10k for failing to repaint/repair its tower in Durant,
OK. Although the company said it had been talking about replacing the
tower, the FCC essentially said "talk is not enough."
- Two of them this week. Another failure to keep tower paint
properly maintained. Allegiance Communications in McAlester, OK,
NAL for $10k after an inspection. Again, an agent reported he
could not distinguish the bands of color at 1/4 mile. This is an easy
test any station could - and should - make regularly.
- The importance of keeping tower paint clean and regularly
maintained was highlighted by
an NAL for $10k given to CBTR Services in Bridgeport, TX. The
field agents found enough deterioration that they could not see the
different bands from as close as 1/4 mile away.
17.51 - KAGM-FM, Strasburg, CO, received
an NAL for $15k after the FCC noted their tower lights were
inoperative - and the station had not been doing a daily check. In
fact, the lights had been out for four months, for non-payment of the
electric bill! The fine was increased 50% for the length of violation
and failing to act until after the FCC notified the station.
9/18/12 - 73.3526
Opus Broadcasting had four of its FM stations in Florida cited for not
having the Public File complete. Opus actually had self-reported (see
4/26/12 below), but that excuse did not carry and a
Forfeiture Order was issued for $16k.
9/11/12 - 73.1216
Good Karma's WKNR, Cleveland apparently did not have enough good karma
an NAL for $4k, for failing to conduct a contest properly.
This one is not strictly radio and TV related, but the cable system on
St, George Island, FL received
an NAL for ... ready? ... $236,500, for EAS violations and TV
signal leakage. Part of it was they had an EAS box, but never
installed it. But after they added the leakage fine, the failure to
respond (and shut down) fines, etc., the FCC is demanding a quarter of
a million dollars. Again, not necessarily broadcast, but an indication
of how serious they take some of these issues.
9/4/12 - 73.1820
WDCE, Richmond, VA received
an NAL for $1k related to the EAS log not being complete. An
informal complaint had been filed, but the FCC essentially dismissed
most of the allegations.
9/4/12 - 73.3527
Failure to have a complete Public Inspection File has cost another
public radio station. WBNI, Roanoke, IN received
an NAL for $10k for lacking nine Issues and Programs lists.
9/4/12 - 73.3598
What is the tab for a five year delay on a license renewal? KRZE
in Farmington, NM received
an NAL for $13k.
8/31/12 - 73.3598
How likely is the FCC to waive a fine if you file a 302 about four
years late? (See 8/1/11 below) Somewhere between not a chance and who
are you kidding? WKLC, St. Albans, WV just got a Forfeiture Order,
indicating the FCC is not interested in any more excuses or
fine of $7k stands.
And now the other shoe: Spanish Broadcasting's WSKQ in New tm
Forfeiture Order for $16k, for a prank phone call. The FCC did
not accept the contention that because a "vendor" actually recorded
the call, it did not violate the Rules.
Someone at Spanish Broadcasting Company will likely be paying
attention, as the FCC confirmed their policy on recording phone calls
without permission with a
Forfeiture Order for $25k. The incidents go back to 2006 at
WZNT, San Juan,PR.
8/22/12 - 73.3573(f)(5)(i),
went out to two companies that failed to file their 301s on time after
Auction 93. Valleydale Broadcasting, Vaiden, MS
was fined $3k and RF Services in Giddings, TX
was hit for $1.5k.
8/22/12 - 73.1216
The CBS station in Gastonia, NC, WBAV, received
an NAL for $10k for repeatedly violating the FCC Rules about
conducting contests as announced. The NAL notes that the company has
done this before, raising the fine 250%.
- It was another Public File Violation that will cost J&J
Broadcasting's WJMS and WIMI(FM) $13k, according to
the NAL from the FCC. It was a failure to maintain and make
available the Issues and Programs lists - five of them since the
stations were purchased, plus not notifying the FCC of change of
ownership of the radio tower.
- Towers generally need to be seen. Failing to keep their tower
clean and painted meant Mobile Phone of Texas received
an NAL for $8k.
LPFM stations are not immune to EAS regulations. That cost KCYP-LP in
an NAL for $10k. The FCC noted the station apparently had
never installed an EAS receiver since it began operations in 2007.
8/13/12 - 73.3527
WWHI, Munci, IN received
an NAL for $1k
for Public File violations. The amount was reduced based from $10, on
the station's explanation of how the Issues & Programs lists were
8/13/12 - 73.3539
The FCC tagged WDSR, Lake City, FL. for failing to turn in the
renewal in 2004 on time. Largely on the failure to have an STA and
the Forfeiture Order for $3.2k represented a slight reduction
as the FCC was barred from fining the station for operation between
2004 and 2006.
The former owner of WLTM-FM and WNIX-AM in Greenville, MS was given
an NAL for $15k. When a field agent inspected the stations,
Debut Broadcasting Mississippi had been operating with non-directional
day power at night, and an EAS receiver was out of service for an
undetermined time period.
The NAL of $20k to Renacer Broadcasters Corp in Mariaco, PR
was doubled because the station's tower, built some ten years ago, was
never painted nor lit.
An NAL for $10k was issued to WSJU-TV in San Juan, PR for
using an STL frequency without a license.
- Another Self-reported violation is affirmed for WWNQ, Forest
The NAL was for $10k (see 4/10/12 below) Public File
violations. The FCC again rejected arguments as to the amount of the
fine and the issue of "willful," but also noted that "recreated"
Issues & Programs lists do not obviate the violation.
7/27/12 - 73.3527
- The FCC affirmed
the NAL for $10k to WTXR, Toccoa Falls College in Georgia (see
5/12/12 below). The Forfeiture Order clearly rejects one by one all of
the common excuses for Public File violations: "it wasn't willfiul,"
"we are an NCE station," "we self-reported and told the truth," "it
wasn't so bad," "the fine is too high," etc.
An Alaskan station received
an NAL for $7k because their base fence was missing several
planks. Agents noted the base was within 500 feet of a house and only
300 feet from a public road.
301 - NALs for $68k
went to Mt. Rushmore Broadcasting's stations in Casper, WY for
operating STLs without licenses or, in one case, being 0.3 miles from
the authorized location. In each case, the fine was doubled because of
the long period of violation - in two cases it was over 15 years - and
that the stations had no documentation permitting their operation. The
stations involved were
WJDZ, Pastillo, PR was tagged with
an NAL for $7k for not having anyone at their Main Studio when
inspected during Business Hours. Apparently, it did not impress the
station, as the field agent came four more times in the next two
weeks, only to find the station locked and empty.
the NAL for $10k issued to WPRK, Winter Park, FL, it was a
complaint that sent field agents to inspect the Public File. They
found no Issues and Programs lists for almost four years. The Rollins
College station had no explanation.
The failure of an AM station to secure its tower base
was again the focus of
an NAL for $7k. An inspection of WLRG, in Sheridan, AR,
revealed over half the fence was down. The station engineer admitted
they knew about it for two weeks.
The FCC expects tower bases to be secure. Two NALs were
issued today assessing $17k.
An NAL for $10k went to WCMC, Wildwood, NJ and WPWC in
Dumfries, VA got
an NAL for $7k for not having a secure, locked fence. Why was
the fine for WCMC higher? The station was told by the field agent to
secure the fence - and they did not do so. Plus the station owner had
a similar previous violation.
17.51 - Super Towers in Bonita Springs, FL received
an NAL for $10k for not having the tower lights on at night.
Apparently there was no alarm system, nor daily light inspections.
Two NALs went out this week for tower violations. James A. Davis's
Hearne, TX antenna brought
an NAL for $13k for several violations relating to failure to keep
the lights operating properly and not notifying the FCC of the change
in ownership of the tower.
An NAL for $3k was issued to the current owners of the antenna
used by KMRI for not updating the FCC's ASL when the station sold the
NAL for $8k (do you see a theme here?) from the FCC for not
having an EAS machine on line. KIRT apparently (or at least since
August 2009) has never had an operational EAS box. That they finally
ordered one, after an inspection, in March did not mitigate the fine.
NAL for $8k in four days was issued for an inoperative EAS
receiver. This time is was at WMAF in Madison, FL. Agents responding
to a complaint that the unit was not operative found it disconnected
for some six months. According to what logs existed, no EAS test
reception had ever been logged.
11.35 -Lack of attention to the EAS
receivers was the reason for
an NAL for $8k issued to KDDD AM&FM in Dumas, TX. In this
case, the EAS receiver could send tests, but could not receive
tests - it had been nearly three years since the station logged a
received test. The logs had no explanation of why the tests were
not received. Ka-ching.
6/27/12 - A bureaucracy needs all its
forms on time, and the FCC is no exception. Joseph Tesiero received
an NAL for $3k because, although he won the Aucion 91 for
Speculator, NY, he missed the deadline to file the required 301 form.
The Commission noted they could have defaulted Tesiero and dismissed
his grant, but settled for the fine.
6/22/12 - The NAL to WVBC (4/27/12
below) was affirmed with a
6/15/12 - Do what you say you will do.
That is the idea behind the
Forfeiture Order for $25k issued to A Radio's WEGA, Vega Baja,
PR for not paying, as agreed $8k on a prior issue.
1.17 - The FCC issues a lot of fines for missing Issues &
Programs lists. WBPO, Port Neches, TX received
an NAL for $15k - it was augmented because two inspections
within a year uncovered the same violation. But the other shoe dropped
- and in a big way:
An NAL for $25k was issued for providing incorrect factual
information to the Commission, when the station certified the file was
in order and up to day. As has been stated before, you must be careful
with anything submitted to the FCC.
Birach Broadcasting got its second NAL in two weeks. This time its
WOAP in Owasso, MI was issued
an NAL for $4k for operating a daytime station at night. The
station argued it was operating under a PSSA (which was withdrawn in
2007) or a Construction Permit (which was never built).
6/13/12 - The
FCC cancelled the licenses of five stations and translators, with
effective dates as far back as 2001. According to the
FCC's letter, most of the facilities had never operated as
authorized. Some were dark for over a year. The Commission deleted all
the licenses and denied the attempted transfer of one of the stations.
Debut Broadcasting's WNLA-AM received
an NAL for $14k for over power operation and tower lighting
violations. The field agents had responded to a complaint that the
station was operating with day power at night - and discovered the
tower lights were out. Although the station knew it, they did not
notify the FAA, even after the agents visit.
- WIPC, Lake Worth, FL managed to get a $500 reduction, but was
an NAL for $3.5k for operating with day facilities at night.
- Townsquare Media's WLCO, Lapeer MI was issued
an NAL for $4k after an agent heard the daytime station
broadcasting an hour past sunset. The station had explained that a
battery in the transmitter control system was the problem.
Martin Broadcasting in Beaumont, TX received
an NAL for $10k
for failing to observe the tower lights daily, keep a tower lit at
night and/or notifying the FAA. The FCC also gave Martin 30 days to
- Birach Broadcasting's WCXI, in Fenton, MI received an
NAL for $17k for failing to properly enclose a tower and for
missing 24 (six years) of Issues and Programs lists.
- Issues & Programs and tower registration were at the core of
an NAL for $13k issued to Quinn Broadcasting, owner of WSNJ
and WMVB in NJ. Seven I&P issues were missing, and the station failed
to change the ASR records when they bought WSNJ. Because they operated
for eight years without the notification, the fine was increased by
An NAL for $5.6k was issued to Skytower
Communications' WULF in Hardinsburg, KY, for moving their Main Studio
out of the 70 dBu contour and operating for eight years without
permission. A lot of legalese and dancing around words ended with the
$7k fine being reduced to $5.6k.
A broken hasp cost a York, PA station $7k. WOYK was
an NAL for $7k after an inspection by field agents determined
the gate was not secured (and would not close). Although the station
repaired the gate immediately after being informed by the field
agents, the FCC determined the $7k fine was warranted - the station
should have known and fixed it itself.
73.3526 - The FCC issued
an NAL for $25k to a cluster owned by Pacific Empire Radio
Corporation in La Grande, OR. Each of five stations was found to be
missing 12 quarterly Issues & Programs listings, blamed on a change in
management. The fine was reduced from an initial total of $50k.
Improperly recording a telephone call, even though it was not
a $2k NAL to WWEG, Myersville, MD. The call was reported to
the FCC by the recipient. Largely because the station immediately
stopped the recording and did not air it, the fine was reduced from
$4k to $2k. But the FCC emphasized that notification by broadcasters
must occur before any recording or airing is done - with
the exception of those phone lines where the caller specifically calls
in to go on the air.
Another case of repeated violations led to a
Forfeiture Order for $12,500 to KUFW in Woodlake, CA. This
case, which dates back to incidents in 2005 and 2006, deals with over
2000 prohibited advertisements on a non-comm station. Proper and
improper language are discussed in the FO.
NAL for $21,500 was the result of several visits by a FCC
Field Agent to KZMX AM/FM in Hot Springs, SD, only to find the main
studio locked and unable to get any phone number answered. Without
access to the station for inspection, and visually noting the repeated
use of an unlicensed FM antenna, the fine was increased to $21.5k.
The FCC has issued another
NAL, for $13k, to a tower owner, even though the tower is not
used for broadcast. The key points: when the tower was sold from Clear
Channel the new owner did not register in the ASR database, with poor
paint, no lights, with no NOTAM the tower was a hazard, and the new
owner did not respond to an FCC letter.
The regulatory issue is in Section 303(q), where it says:
"In the event that the tower ceases to be licensed by the
Commission for the transmission of radio energy, the owner
of the tower shall maintain the prescribed painting and/or
illumination of such tower until it is dismantled, and the Commission
may require the owner to dismantle and remove the tower when the
Administrator of the Federal Aviation Agency determines that there is
a reasonable possibility that it may constitute a menace to air
WKCR-FM, Columbia University, New York City drew
an NAL for $10k for self-reporting the lack of Issues &
Programs lists during their operations from the last renewal period.
The FCC said it would have given a short term renewal but since the
station must renew in 2014, it decided to let that stand.
73.3527 - Three stations checked the box indicated they had
not properly filed everything in the Public Information File during
the last license period. What makes things a bit different for
Yeary Broadcasts' WXLZ AM and FM and
University of Maryland, Eastern Shore's WESM is that is past eight
years, 32 of the quarterly reports were missed. The FCC issued NALs
for $10k each - PLUS a short term renewal of only fours years.
The FCC reinforced several NALs with Forfeiture Orders, due to the
licensees not responding to the initial NAL letters.
5/2/12 - Another station checked
"no" on the renewal form regarding the Public File contents. And, as a
reward, Toccoa Falls College station WTXR. Toccoa Falls, GA received
an NAL for $10k. The FCC is not showing any sympathy to
stations that fail to put the Issues & Programs lists in the files -
on time - and maintain the Public File.
5/1/12 - The FCC warned the
"owner" of four towers, left over from a silent AM directional
station, that they faced sanction and fines if they did not
immediately report the actual ownership of the towers, get them lit,
and possibly painted - or drop them. Fines of $16k a day, $112.5k for
a single act ... and worse ... were mentioned.
4/27/12 - 73.3539,
WVBC, Bethany, WV received
an NAL for $6.5k because of a late renewal filing and for
being silent over 30 days without authorization. The Bethany College
station appears to have closed for the summer, but missed a couple of
very important tasks - a timely warning as this school year comes to a
73.3526 - The operator of four stations in Florida, Opus
Broadcasting received four NALF's, each for $4k, this week for
WQTL. Station owners admitted on the Renewal Form that they had
not kept the Public File properly, specifically the Issues & Programs
lists. The NALFs came back accordingly.
73.3526 - Two more stations have self-reported themselves into
an NAL for a $10k fine for Public File violations.
WHLG(FM), Port St. Lucie, FL and
WSBH(FM), Satellite Beach, FL, both owned by Horton Broadcasting,
checked the "no" box on the License Renewal Form asking if the
required items were placed in the Public File at the appropriate
times. Noting that the violations were "extensive," running the entire
time the stations were owned (as long as five years), the FCC was
ready, willing, and able to asses the fines.
4/23/12 - 73.1350,
- Operating a translator as much as 280% over power and with a
non-licensed antenna brought
an NAL for $11k to the Ace of Hearts DJ Service in Cape
Canaveral, FL. Protestations that the agents were wrong did not fly
with the Commission.
4/19/12 - 73.1350,
- Failure to respond promptly to the FCC, operating from an
unauthorized site, and being silent without authorization brought a
Forfeiture Order for $18k to WVUV, Leone, American Samoa. The
Commission rejected various arguments and affirmed the fine.
4/18/12 - A California station, KXDZ in
Templeton, is the latest to get a Public File
NAL for $10k for having missing Issues and Programs lists.
Among the excuses, part of the violation was from before they bought
the station. That did not fly.
Self-reporting on their Renewal Applications that they violated the
Public File rules cost a pair of stations NALs for $10K each.
WWNQ(FM), Forest Acres, SC and
WBMQ(FM), Monroe, LA both answered "no" to the question certifying
all proper Public File items were properly filed on time. A discussion
on the how to prevent this problem
is located here.
Sometimes, an NAL comes out the shute fast: after all, it only takes
two events to be "willful and repeated." ERJ Media's WOIR, Miami FL
was observed not reducing power from 5 kW to 500 Watts two nights in a
row (the field strength was "approximately the same value..."), and
had no explanation during an inspection the next day. The
NAL cash register total: $4k
The EB issued two separate NALs totalling $32k to Telava for
Georgia of various tower light issues, including failure to be lit
as authorized, not visually inspecting the tower lights each day and
improper reporting of outages. One site was said to have had no power
at all since April 2010; the other site apparently had power, but no
lights, and despite FCC contact, the lights were still not repaired
over a year later. The NALs do not mention specific stations, but
emphasize that monitoring tower lights is not a trivial matter.
Excessive power at night for a daytimer, Public File, and an STL on an
unauthorized frequency brought
an NAL for $8k to Beacon Broadcasting (WGRP, WEXC, and STL
WQGW238) in Greenville, PA. The original fine was $18k, but was
A reduction from $25k to $500 might seem like a victory, but Vision
Latina's KBPO, Port Neches, TX, there is a double-edged sword there.
KBPO received their
Forfeiture Order based on ability to pay, which typically
means the $500 represents a little less than 8% of the station's gross
income. Furthermore, although the station has certified they are now
in compliance, the FCC is now aware of KBPO, and
likely will check again - but likely without allowing another
reduction in fine if the same violations are found.
3/26/12 - There are too many
items to list on this one, so we will invite you to read the story of
how and why
DWHNY, McComb, MS lost its license - and why the FCC declined
to make any accomodation to the owner, Charles Holt. Be sure to note
the contents of footnotes 5, 13, and 25 for additional background.
But it gets better (worse?). Get yourself a large cup of coffee (a
BDR Mug would be helpful) and get ready to be surprised at how
this case meandered for well over a decade: The FCC issued a notice
DWLMA, Greenwood, SC. This former station, which has trying to
sell itself for $75,000, has not had a valid authorization for as long
as 15 years. It moved without authorization and ... well ...according
to Powell Way, this station is "still on the air as if nothing
3/19/12 - 76.64
Two NALs for $15k
were assessed to one cable company, Bailey's Cable TV in Louisiana,
for carrying two TV stations without re-transmission permission. The
fine, reduced from $310k total, due to Bailey's financial condition,
was accompanied by a stern warning that this provided no precedent for
3/14/12 - 73.1745
A daytimer operating past sunset received
an NAL for $4k. KULF, Bellville, TX was cited by field agents
when they heard it continue programming after sunset on more than one
occasion. The station had no explanation, so the fine stands.
3/7/12 - 73.3526(e)(11)(iii)
- Two more
NAL's, for $3k,
went out to TV stations for failure to file required materials on
Children's Programming. Additional warnings were sent to at least
three others. The Commission is apparently now focus on this one.
WNFO, Sun City Hilton Head, SC racked up a pretty sizeable
NAL for $25k after the FCC field agents responded to a
complaint and visited in July 2011. A broken tower fence, no EAS
connected, and no Public File were cited.
The owner apparently refused to meet with the field agents on two
separate days, nor would he send a representative. His claim was that
an LMA company failed to keep the Public File available and vandals
had caused the other problems, breaking into the transmitter building
and fence, leaving some gear, but taking the EAS logs, and then
locking the building back with its padlock was just not entirely
3/8/12 - 73.1350
An NAL for $8k was issued to WRFM-FM in Wilkinson, IN for
operation at variance with its authorization. The station was found
some three miles from its licensed location, without an STA, after the
FAA complained. The $4k fine was doubled due to several factors.
3/7/12 - The FCC released a
special Public Notice today that informs potential users of
jamming devices on GPS or cell frequencies, for example, that fines of
$100,000 will be part of the FCC's "aggressive action." The FCC says
that jammers can potentially prevent emergency or public safety
communications "with tragic consequences."
3/7/12 - 73.3526(e)(11)(iii)
- Four NAL's for $13k went out to TV stations for failure
to file required materials on Children's Programming. This comes on
the heels of actions last week to downgrade a number of stations for
BELO's WBXN-CA got one. As did the
Glen Iris Baptist School (twice!). And
2/28/12 - 73.1350
- Failure to change power and pattern bought
a $4k NAL to WIPC, Lake Wales, FL. The 1kW day/540 W (DA)
Ni7ght station was found not to change power on several occasions. The
station claimed the control system had just recently malfunctioned,
and the station owner had forgotten to change the power and antenna on
the night the Field Agent was checking.
2/27/12 - 17.57
The importance of making sure all the paperwork is done on a
station transfer of control is the underlying meaning of
the $4.5k NAL issued to Hacienda San Eladio, PR's WRRE. The
station was purchased in 2003, however they never filed the required
FCC Form 854 to notify the FCC about the changed owner of the tower
structure. Due to the long delay, the $3k fine was raised 50% to
2/24/12 - 73.3526
Self-reporting a violation was again the catalyst for a $10k fine for WTSM(FM) in
Woodville, FL. On their renewal form 303-S, the station checked "no"
in response to the requirement to certify that the proper
documentation was placed in the Public File. Citing the station's
self-reported admission, the EB issued
an NAL for $10k, saying that it was evident the station's
actions were "willful and repeated." (Similar to the WODR case
on 2/3/12 below.)
2/15/12 - 73.3539
WSBU, St Bonaventure University's student run station in NY received
an NAL for $7k for their late renewal (the 2006 renewal was
finally filed in 2010, after the FCC initially deleted the station).
The FCC did not accept a change in the staff advisor nor the non-comm
status as mitigating factors.
Failure to have the Main Studio open and staffed during business hours
netted WJTB, Elyria, OH an NAL - and an enhanced fine. Several aspects
of this are instructive. While the Field Agents were standing outside
a locked door, someone drove up, apparently with the same last name as
the individual in charge. When told the FCC Field Agents were there to
inspect, she told them to call someone else, who did not answer the
It gets better (worse?). Despite the agents explaining there needed to
be staff, and despite a letter to the station, the agents returned
five and a half months later to ... a locked door. A letter from the
station during the interim included a couple of odd excuses. The FCC,
after considering matters, increased the $7k fine and issued
an NAL for $10k.
2/14/12 - 11.35
Again, not strictly broadcast, but another cable system NAL. This time
for not having an EAS receiver for at least three and a half years.
The fine: $10k.
2/13/12 - 76.1700
- While not strictly broadcast, perhaps some broadcasters will get a
tiny modicum of comfort to know the Public File requirements affect
cable systems, too.
An NAL for $10k was issued to Allen's TV Cable System in
Morgan City, LA for not allowing immediate access to the Public File
during business hours.
2/7/12 - 73.3526,
One might suppose it was a bargain when the FCC reduced the $42k fine
racked up by KQMG AM/FM in Independence, IA. and issued
an NAL for $10k. The violations read like a laundry list - and
were tripped by a complaint the tower lights were not working
and no NOTAM had been sought: only a single non-flashing center beacon
was on. By the time the Field Agents arrived 10 days later, no lights
were on at all. Worse yet (if that is possible), the operator on duty
admitted the lights had been out for over three months.
But, there is more. A single Public File (not correct) had no Issues &
Programs list since 2001. The operator could not trigger an EAS test.
There was no EAS log, but the operator said there were no EAS
receptions in at least three months. There was no station log either,
nor remote control for the two stations (the phone line had been
disconnected) - and one was found to be running 108% of licensed
power. The agents could not determine the power level of the other, as
the antenna current meter was broken.
2/7/12 - 73.3526
You might be surprised at the continuing list of stations that get
cited for Public File violations. While it may be a pain to maintain,
it is pretty straightfoward. But when a station is on the air over 30
years and yet the FCC comments "there was no evidence the station had
ever maintained" its Public File, you know what is next: the FCC
an NAL for $10k to KPIR, Granbury, TX.
2/6/12 - 73.1212
In perhaps the largest specific broadcast fine in a while, the
Sponsorship ID Rule was involved in the
NAL for $44k issued to WLS, Chicago and its licensee "Radio
License Holding XI, LLC," (which most folks might not recognize as
Citadel - pre-Cumulus). At issue was an ad, run 11 times, which was
related to a state legislative issue. The Commission held that in the
(see the NAL) they were designed to sound like a news story. Given
the content and manner of broadcast, the Commission decided to issue a
fine for each of the 11 ads. It might also be a warning to all
stations for this election year.
2/3/12 - 73.3526
NAL for $10k was issued to WODR, Fair Bluff, NC for self
reporting Public File violations in 2006-2008. The Padner Group
station blamed part of it on operations under an LMA. The FCC
acknowledged the station had reported itself, but affirmed the $10k
fine as appropriate.
2/1/12 - 11.35
Roswell, NM seems to be an EAS problem area recently (12/7/11). Now,
KCRX' Rosendo Casarez, Jr. has been given
an NAL for $8k, for not having a working EAS receiver for
about eight months. The receiver had been damaged and repaired, but
was apparently never re-installed.
2/1/12 - Section 301 - While we know the FCC has
been hitting pirates for $10k fines, two from Florida this week
indicate that Field Agents are losing patience with some offenders.
One, who pleaded poverty to reduce a previous fine of $20k to $500,
was back on the air again. So, the EB figures that to send a message,
an NAL for $25k was appropriate. A different pirate was found
interfering with FAA transmissions.
An NAL for $20k was issued.
A somewhat strange
Forfeiture Order for $3.2k was issued to Gila Electronics for
running an STL for station KUKY, Welton, AZ on 956.65 MHz - at
an unlicensed location, 15 miles from designated for WNTB570. While
Gila attempted to defend its operation under Part 101, the FCC noted
that does not apply to the final RF link in a broadcast chain. The $4k
fine was reduced as Gila had no other violations in over 20 years of
1/23/12 - The EB may be looking more closely at your
NRSC measurement reports.
An NOV was receently issued to KRDM, Redmond, OR for not
having an NRSC report for over two years when inspected in October
1/20/12 - 73.1216
A 2008 contest run by Clear Channel's LA Cluster brought
an NAL for $22k for violating the Contest Rules - and a
warning. The NAL says posting contest rules on a website does not
exempt a station from 73.1216. There also were conflicting dates for
the contest and the judging. Significantly, the NAL ends by increasing
the base fine of $4k to $22k stating, "in light of Clear Channels'
prior history of non-compliance, we caution that the imposition of
even higher forfeitures may result in the future if such mis-conduct
persists." (Several previous contest violations were noted in the
1/19/12 - 73.3526,
It took a decade for the FCC to discover that WPLY in Mount Pocono, PA
had no Public File and was operating at only 250 W Non-D (instead of a
4-tower DA). The fine of $14k was increased to
an NAL of $17k due to the ten year failure to observe the
FCC's Rules and Regulations.
1/18/12 - 17.50
Although not issued to broadcast stations, the two
NALs for $10k each (the
other one) for not having a tower properly painted are worth
1/18/12 - 73.1660
WRLE-LP in Dunnellon, FL was issued an
NAL for $12k for intefering with FAA transmissions while using a
non-certified transmitter. (See 9/7/11, below). Today, the
Notice of Forfeiture reduced that to $1.5k, based on an
inability to pay.
1/5/12 - 73.3526
The FCC affirmed
an $8k Forfeiture Order against Lazer Licenses in Santa Maria,
CA for failure to have Issues & Programs lists available for its three
stations, KSBQ, KLMM-FM, and KLUN-FM. The Order notes that although
the station said the files were in the station, it apparently took
three months - and an NAL - before the station actually put things
12/30/11 - 73.2080
The Enforcement Bureau ends 2011 with a flourish - $22k in NALs for
EEO violations. Clear Channel's South Carolina stations got
one for $14k and MHR's Virginia stations got
one for $8k. Bottom line: Internet ads are not
sufficient for the bureaucrats.
12/21/11 - Another sort of deadline that
sometimes gets missed is the expiration of a CP (Construction Permit).
At that time, a filing for a license is expected - or the CP
abandoned. Somehow the folks at Roberts Broadcasting Company in
Evansville, IN appear -
according to an FCC Letter - had not done either, for three years.
Do we hear an "our paperwork got lost" response coming?
12/14/11 - 73.3539
Missing the filing deadline by three months late in 2004, cost WJTB,
North Ridgeville, OH
an NAL for $1.5k.
12/7/11 - 11.35
KRDD in Roswell, NM had been without an operational EAS receiver for
over six months. Upon inspection, the station blamed the situation on
vandalism. This FCC issued an
NAL for $8k and demanded certification within 30 days that the
EAS receiver is now operational.
12/6/11 - 73.3539
Another late renewal fine raffirmed, this one exacerbated by a "red
light' violation - where a station owed the FCC money from a prior
issue. KJCB's license in Lafayette, LA ran out in 2004, when the
station did not respond to the dismissal (See 7/22/11, below). In its
appeal, the station also blamed the engineer. The
NAL for $13k stands.
12/6/11 - 73.1216
Saga's WAQY, Springfield, MA, was denied a review of the
NAL for $4k for violating Contest rules. WAQY was found to not
have provided the prizes in a "prompt" manner.
12/1/11 - 73.3539
Apparently, Hope Broadcasting's WFGN, Gaffney, SC, does not like to
file forms with the FCC. The 2003 License Renewal Application was not
filed until May 2011 - after the FCC notified the station the license
had expired seven years before.
Unfortunatly, 2011 was when the next round of renewals for South
Carolina were scheduled - and WFGN missed the August 1st deadline for
this year by a month. The
station was issued an NAL for $10k,
reduced to $4.6k, but the FCC did approve
the late 2003 renewal and accepted the current one.
11/30/11 - 73.3539
WWLU (FM)Lincoln University, PA caught a break from the FCC in the
$250 NAL issued for not filing their last renewal on time in
2006. Although the filing was almost three months late, it did come
before the license actually expired. Another factor: WWLU is a Class D
FM, hence the reduction to $250.
11/23/11 - 1.89
NOV was issued to KMYX-FM in Arvin, CA, when an inspector
noted that the transmitter was approximately 1000 feet from the
coordinates listed on the license.
11/23/11 - 1.89
NOV was issued to K205DZ, a translator in Devore, CA. It
appears the antenna, a directional, was found no longer pointed in the
licensed direction. This is of interest in that similar notices were
issued to the same translator in 2007 and 2009, and also noted the 10
Watt translator was operating at 11 Watts.
11/1/11 - 11.35,
The FCC affirmed the NAL listed at 7/19/11 (below) to Spirit
Broadcasting and WGTM, with a
Forfeiture Order for $25k.
An NAL for $10k
was issued to the owner of WERX-FM, Columbia, NC, for failure to
exhibit obstruction lighting and to have required records.
Failure to paint the tower cost WMID, Atlantic City, NJ
an NAL for $20k.
A tower fence gate was also found to be
unlocked. The owner, Equity Communications, LP, was informed of the
problem in April of 2010 and promised correctionsd. However, but seven
months later there was no correction and the gate was found unlocked
Another station failed to lower power at sunset and received
an NAL for $4k. KPIO, Loveland, CO. The FCC indicated the 7 kW
station was running about 1.5 kW day and night. The engineer for the
Catholic Radio Network station indicated there was a defective base
current meter and remote control.
KVOZ, Del Mar Hills, TX, received
an NAL for $21k because they did not have a main studio in the
community of license, no complete Public File, and operating
differently than the station authorization.
Failing to lower power at sunset resulted in
a $4k NAL to KBRZ, Missouri City, TX. The agents
measured field intensity before and after sunset - and although the
license required 1/32 of the day power during the night, the field
strength was unchanged.
A 12-Watt Non-Comm station received
an NAL for $22k for not having a Public File, no operating EAS
receiver - and having moved the transmitter a half-mile without
authorization. RJ's Late Night Entertainment Company's Highland Park,
MI station (WHPR-FM) said they thought a short move did not require
FCC authorization, and blamed the lack of a Public File on a local
library closing "several years ago."
10/20/11 - 73.3539
Several failures to renew licenses on time brought some stiff fines
this week. WQTQ, Hartford, CT received
an NAL for $7k for operation from April 2006 to September 2010
without any authorization.The Hartford Board of Education said it
either forgot to renew, or thought it did (!). The FCC did waive about
$10k of potential fines.
WRAN-LP in Randolph, VT also operated four years without a license.
The assessment on this low power station was for
an NAL of $500.
Salmon River Communications in Salmon, ID, did not do quite as well.
Not only did its two stations operate for five years after the
licenses expired in October 2005, but the STA issued for them to
operate while correcting matters was allowed to expire in May. The
station KSRA (AM) received
an NAL for $13k,
as did KSRA-FM, a total of $26k.
10/21/11 - 17.57
- When the owner of an ASR
registered tower changes, the FCC must be notified. P&Y Broadcasting
in Los Angeles received
an NAL for $3k for not having noted the transfer of the KMPC
10/20/11 - Operating past the
Post-Sunset Authority resulted in
a $4k Forfeiture Order to Clarion Country Broadcasting's WKQW,
Oil Town, PA. The infractions occurred in late 2008. (It must be
assumed the reference to "FM Station WKQW" was a typo!)
10/18/11 - There was no fine issued on
this one, but the FCC made a point of shutting down a
translator that caused
interference to a co-channel station. (And providing free cell
phones did not impress the FCC.)
While it was not the focus of
this Notice, the FCC also pointed out that a translator has to
protect regular listeners, even outside a station's licensed contour
(top of page 3/footnote 6).
10/14/11 - 73.3526
Six years of missing Issues & Programs brought
a $10k NAL to WMMG, Brandenburg, KY.
10/3/11 - 73.3539
Yet another NAL for late renewal reminds stations that the burden of
compliance is on each station. The authorization for WPRX in Bristol,
CT expired in April 2006. However, no renewal application (nor STA)
was filed until until the Commission wrote to WPRX four and a half
The arguments that the failure was unintentional and they did not get
any reminders because they changed their mailing address did not move
An NAL for $7k stands, with a reminder that it is the licensee
who bears all burdens for compliance.
9/26/11 - 73.3539
A trio of late renewals and subsequent unauthorized operation brings a
NALs adding up to $8k (marked down from $39,000) for an FM
station and two translators.
WSBU (FM) at St Bonaventure, NY,
K292BA, Dubois, WY, and
K232CZ, Winona, MN all operated for some four or five years after
their license period.
In each of these cases, the FCC did not designate them as "serious
violations," knocking the fine for the translators down to $500 each.
However, it is clear that failure to file the renewal applications on
time is getting more attention, and will not get a full "pass" from
9/13/11 - 1.903,
Several violations led to
a $17.5k NAL (reduced from $20k) for KRAL(AM) and KIQZ(FM) in
Agents noted inoperative EAS equipment, an incomplete Public File, and
an STL not being operated from its authorized location. Excuses of
"not willful," "the former employee did it," and "we can't afford that
much" were not accepted.
9/13/11 - 17.48,
A dark tower led to
a $10k NAL (reduced from $13k) to WOXD-FM in Oxford, MS. When
the FCC turned up to investigate a report that no lights were working,
they learned the failure had been ongoing for about six weeks. When
the agents asked for the Public File, the station could not find one.
The station contended that there were other, higher towers in the
area, hence no need to notify the FAA. Taylor Communications'
president claimed he was unaware of the missing Public File until the
inspection, and laid blame on a previous station manager, who was
accused of stealing it. The former manager's story was "the FCC Public
Inspection File could not be located" after a renovation six months
9/8/11 - 73.1745,
NAL, for $14k, landed on KGLA, Gretna, LA. The station's GM
admitted the daytime station "had been operating at reduced power
throughout the night for several years." A Public File missing station
authorizations and eight Issues & Programs list pretty much sealed the
issue. Possibly the lack of the station authorization was why the
station had the "mistaken belief that it was authorized to broadcast
The FCC denied all the arguments from Crocodile Broadcasting Corp,
including the excuse that they did not mean to violate the Rules, but
had failed "to carefully read [sic] the letter from the Media Bureau"
denying an STA request for night time operation.
9/7/11 - 73.1660
When the FCC calls, saying you are intefering with FAA transmissions,
it is not a good idea to refuse them. Twice. And while using a
The NAL for $12k received by Power Ministries' WRLE-LP in
Dunnellon, FL makes it clear that even low power transmitters can
cause destructive interference - and why you need to listen when the
FCC is at the door. The $5k fine for the use of a non-certified
transmitter was augmented by $7k for the "obstruction" by station
- Failure to monitor antenna structure lighting and failure to
exhibit all required obstruction lighting brought
a $12k NAL to Miller Communications in Red Hill, GA.
8/11/11 - 73.3527
Two more non-comm stations have run afoul of the Public File Rules and
received Forfeiture Orders from the FCC. Southern Adventist
University's WSMC-FM in Collegedale, TN and Texas Educational
Broadcasting Coop's KOOP (FM) in Hornsby, TX both self-reported on
their renewal forms that they had not kept the Public File properly up
to date. Additionally KOOP was in violation by having excessive
foreign voting interest on their board.
Both stations sought cancellation or reduction of the fines, arguing
that they had many changes of management and they had reconstructed
the missing Issues & Programs lists. The FCC was not amused,
considering as many as 22 Issues & Programs lists were involved at one
station. But they did reduce both fines. WSMC's got a $2000 reduction
an NAL for $8k, while KOOP saw a $6300 reduction and
an NAL for $8.7k.
8/4/11 - 73.3527
It seems college stations particularly are often "caught" in the
self-reporting questions on renewal forms. Perhaps it is due to their
being honest and truthful, perhaps it is because student operations
are more susceptible to missing Issues & Programs lists. Either way,
an NAL for $9k went to WUSC-FM, Columbia, SC for violations in
8/3/11 - 73.3539
Filing license renewal applications on time continues to be something
on which the FCC does not give ground. The federal cash register rings
up $3k for failing to file and $10k for operating for four years after
the license expired. WPRX, Bristol, CT, is another of those cases
where the station never got around to filing until the FCC informed
them in 2010 that their license had expired in 2006 and the call
letters deleted. The station's response? They said they did not get
the renewal reminder postcard in 2005.
The Commission notes that it is the licensees responsibility to know
when their license expires and file accordingly, postcard or no.
However, they found "factors" and policy to reduce
the NAL to $7k, a $6k reduction on the $10k fine for operating
without a license.
8/3/11 - 73.3539
Even missing the filing deadline by a "few months" is not
acceptable. Applied Life Ministries in Hot Springs, AR, originally won
a reduction from $7k to
an NAL of $5.6k, but the Commission declined to accept any
further adjustments and affirmed the fine for filing five months late.
WBDG, Indianapolis, IN checked the "No" box on their 2004 license
renewal application, indicating Issues & Programs lists were missing
from 1996-99. The Commission rejected all arguments and kept
the $9k NAL fine against the Metropolitan School District.
Once in a while, the machinery grinds a bit slow. WLBK, DeKalb, IL
managed to slide on
a $10k NAL, because the violations noted ended in 2004, while
the NAL was not issued until 2007. One might expect the FCC will try
not to let this much money slip through their fingers again.
8/3/11 - 73.3539
Another reduction concerns a translator in Fayetteville, AR. A late
renewal originally drew a $4k fine, but the FCC reduced
the NAL to $500 as a policy in dealing with translators.
Not only for license renewal, but there are penalties for late filings
of Form 302 (Application for License, filed after a construction under
a CP (Construction Permit) is completed. WKLC in St. Albans, WV,
somehow did not remember to file their 302 on a CP that expired in
July 2007. WKLC apparently discovered the omission while preparing
their license renewal, due June 1, 2011.
The EB noted that in addition to the $3k fine for late filing of the
302, the four years of operation without a license was subject to a
$10k fine. This was reduced to $4k and an
NAL for $7k was issued in this case.
In a variation on the "my dog ate my homework" excuse, HK Media's KFOX
in Torrance (LA), CA, claimed water damage destroyed their Public File
in May 2010. However, in late September 2010, during an inspection by
the EB, no one could locate a Public File. The
NAL for $10k notes that the station started to recreate the
Public File the week after the inspection - which was not
considered a good enough excuse.
317, and 507 -
Emmis Communications made a voluntary contribution of $12k to
the US Treasury as they signed off on a
Consent Decree regarding KROX-FM in Buda (Austin), TX. The station
had been tagged for possible payola charges in 2007 relating to the
station and a show host receiving "valuable consideration" from
artists who wanted to get airplay.
Renewal issues cost KJCB(AM), Lafayette, LA, an
NAL for $13k. When the renewal was filed two weeks late in
2004, it was dismissed due to a delinquent debt to the Commission.
Apparently, the station did nothing until the FCC notified them in
April 2010 that they were operating a deleted station. In the
meantime, another station filed a CP that assumed the then DKJCB was
The station finally filed a renewal application in June 2010 - but
continuing to broadcast for nearly a year more, a total of six years
without a license. The EB ticked them $3k for the original failure to
file properly, and $10 for, essentially, being a pirate for six years.
Two Citadel stations in Louisiana won a reduction from a 2004 NAL of
$18k for Public File violations. The
NAL was reduced to $8K, as the EB noted some of the violations
occurred before Citadel acquired the stations.
The EB has issued another
NAL for $25k. WGTM in Wilson, NC was found upon inspection to
have no Public File, no EAS equipment, and an open fence around an
energized tower. A series of apparently conflicting statements
led the EB to assess $8k for the EAS Violation, $7k for the unlocked
or missing tower fence, and $10k for the missing Public File.
We close the month of June with a big one:
a whopping $25k NAL issued to KBPO in Port Neches, TX for
failing to have the Main Studio properly staffed and for Public File
Last December, the FCC agent made several attempts to inspect the
station's Public File, but found the station locked. When someone was
finally found, it was an announcer who could not produce a complete
Public File, saying the owner was in Mexico for another 10 days. A
return visit and ... yep ... no station owner. According to the NAL,
the agent was told the owner would return "sometime in January."
The EB agent was not amused and the fine was factored up from $17k to
Colby-Sawyer College's WSCS (FM), New London, NH received an
NAL for $10k for Public File violations - 14 missing Issues &
Programs filings. Blaming it on the student operators was a
non-starter; the Commission noted the responsibility for such matters
is with the licensee. Thus the buck - all 10,000 of them - apparently
will stop there.
NAL to WTBR for $5.6k. The Pittsfield, MA station filed for
renewal four and a half months late in 2005. The reduction was noted
to be for the station's unblemished record going back to the 1970s.
NAL to KZUE for $4k. The El Reno, OK station filed for renewal
five months late in 2005.
Two aspects of this are worth noting: 1) Although the fine came late -
more than a year after the event, the EB switched the actual
infraction from "late filing" to "Willful operation without a
license," and 2) The station claimed it "thought" its electronic
application was accepted when the FCC site "validated" the
application. The EB holds that it is not their fault when the
applicant makes an error in the filing procedure. However, the EB did
reduce the fine from $7k to $4k.
73.3526, and Section 301 -
The EB is showing no tolerance for late renewal applications. An
NAL for $12.8k was delivered to Manuel Huerta, owner of WJHX,
Lexington, AL. It appears he was three weeks late.
The EB noted that under Section 301, he was operating an unauthorized
station by not having filed to renew. The renewal application also
included a confession that no Issues & Programs lists were placed in
the Public File for two years. The fine was reduced by $3,200 upon
petition, but is still a reminder that as the renewal dates come, they
are not to be missed!
WKWL, Florala, AL, will need to enrich the US Treasury by
$1,500 as their appeal of a Forfeiture Order based on the late
filing of their last renewal application.
WLSW, Scottdale, PA was tagged with
an NAL for $15k for missing quarterly Issues & Programs lists.
The station claimed that "a person or persons had gone through the
file and that some items had been removed.... " The station committed
to replacing or constructing new files to replace the missing ones.
The problem was that a year later, Issues & Programs lists were still
missing. For ignoring the results of the FCC inspection, WLSW got a
50% increase in the fine.
73.3527 KSLC(FM) Linfield College in McMinnville, OR received
an NAL for $8k for failing to keep the Public File up to date.
It appears that the fine, reduced from $10k, was triggered when KSLC
told on itself: on their last renewal form they certified that items
from 1999-2001 were missing from the station's Public File. This
"gotcha" from the renewal form tends to play right into the EB
11.35 CRS Radio Holdings in Spring Lake, NC received
an NAL for $8k for a failure to have an operating EAS
Receiver. This NAL stems from inspections in 2008.
17.48 Big Fish Broadcasting received a
$7k Forfeiture Order for failing to maintain tower lights on
two separate towers. An FCC inspector found the lights out and power
turned off over a period of over six months. Additionally, Big Fish
had not notified the FAA until after the FCC inspection. The original
fine was $20k, but was reduced due to alleged inability to pay.
73.3526 (UPDATED!) The Public File was the subject of four
different NALs this week so far. Della Jane Woofter got an NAL for her
station in Glenville, WV, WVRW. It seems that Ms. Woofter had
neglected the Issues & Programs lists for nine quarters. The
cash register at the EB rings up another $10k.
Apparently not to be outdone, Stephen Peters at WHAW, Lost Creek, WV,
did not have any Issues & Programs lists in the file.
The NAL for this one was also $10k.
Over in Washington, NC, Media East LLC received an NAL for $10k
for not having a complete Public File - that is, anything after 2006.
The manager was said to have thought the rest of the file was at the
company's headquarters in Statesville, NC. - only about 250 miles by
road. The agent was not amused and
the EB affirmed a $10k NAL.
And if that was not enough, Blue Skies' KSKT-CA in San Marcos
(Escondido), CA apparently had no Issues & Programs list since the
station was licensed in 2001. For almost ten years of failing to do
the lists, the
5/19/11 - 73.1350,
73.3526 - Entertainment Media Trust drew two fines today from
the EB for infractions at two sets of sister stations in the St.
Louis, MO area. KZQZ was found to not be switching directional
patterns, and with sister KQQZ missing Public Files and NRSC
That cost $25k. On the other side of the Mississippi,
more missing Public Files at WQQX and WQQW added
another $24k to the tab.
5/17/11 - 11.35,
73.3526 - Poverty saved this station from a total of $21k
in fines. The
NAL for $5.5k was issued after WCLM, Highland Springs, VA
pleaded their inability to pay the full amount for not having a
functioning EAS receiver, remote control and Public File. According to
the station, their remote control had been out of service for over a
5/17/11 - 73.49,
11.35 - Another case of failing to maintain the fence around
an AM tower. Station personnel admitted the fence had been missing for
"about a year." Lack of a Public File and no EAS receiver for
over 60 days added to the faults at WIRJ, Humbolt, TN.
The NAL will cost WIRJ $25k.
5/17/11 - 73.49 -
Failing to properly enclose the towers and keep the ATU huts locked
$7k NAL to WWSM, Annville-Cleona, PA. Not only did the owner
admit to knowing about the problem, but it took the agent almost a
week to reach the station's general manager.
5/16/11 - 73.1125,
73.3526 - KVOZ, Del Mar Hills, TX, racked up a
$21k NAL for violations of the Main Studio and Public File
Rules and operating at a major variance from the station
authorization. The 10 kW/day, 1 kW/night station was operating a 3 kW
around the clock "for several months."
73.3526 - KANR, Belle Plaine, KS owner Daniel Smith dodged a
$25k bullet (see 11/12/10 below) for a series of
violations. The EB
reduced it to $11,500, which it deemed to be "7.7%
of Station KANR's average gross revenue."
- CBS' KNX, Los Angeles was sent
for $10k after an FCC employee noticed the top beacon was not
working. Five days after an inspector called the FAA with the NOTAM,
KNX filed one. The station acknowledged the person tasked with
monitoring the light had not done so.
(e) (12) - Pilot Media and WIBL, Fairbury, IL was issued
for $4000 because the Issues & Programs list was missing - as
were the three previous lists. A minor plus: the station saved $6000
because the inspector found the Public File "mostly complete."
- WLBH-FM in Mattoon, IL, was cited for having tower fencing that
was falling down or missing around a four-tower DA. Also, no one was
at the Main Studio when the FCC came calling, nor did anyone answer
the telephone (which did not have voicemail). Together,
a fine of
$14k was assessed.
73.3539(a), Section 301 of the Communications Act of
1934 - KWTS-FM, Canyon, TX was let off on a fine for
filing their renewal application late, but got dinged anyway
because of not having an STA for the operations when
they had no license. All in all, it cost $3,200, plus
lawyers fees on that one.
73.1745(a) - Clarion Country Broadcasting's WQKW,
Oil City, PA was fined $4k for
operation after the times detailed in the license.
73.3526 - Multicultural Broadcasting's NYC stations
WZRC and WKDM were cited for
failure to keep a complete political file in the
73.3526 (e)(12) - WWIZ, Mercer, PA, has received an
NAL for $10k. The forfeiture is for a Public File
that did not have the last nine quarterly Issues and
73.1206 - The FCC Enforcement Bureau apparently is
trying to make a statement of some sort. This time a
$25k fine was issued, to the Spanish Broadcasting
Systems WZNT, San Juan, PR, for broadcasting two prank
phone calls without the recipient knowing and giving
One of the reasons given (paragraph 7) for the relatively
high fine is that this is not the first time SBC has
been before the FCC for this reason. WXJD, WSKQ, and WCMQ
also have received fines for similar infractions. The
footnote 36 shows how the fines have escalated from the base
$4k in a violation going back ten years.
73.3527(c) - KCET-TV, Los Angeles, collected a $10k
NAL (Notice of Liability for Forfeiture) from the FCC for
demanding a member of the public make an appointment
to see the stations' Public File.
11.35(a) - Even as FEMA mulls the Alaska EAN test,
the FCC EB issues a $10k fine against WWRR Scranton, PA. It
seems this station had no EAS receiver from 2006
until well after an inspection - despite a note in the
maintenance log in 2008 noting the non-compliant status of
The FCC NAL is here.
12/3/10 - A couple of
interesting proposed forfeitures this week:
73.1125(a) - A $10,000 forfeiture has been proposed
for Pennsylvania station WQOR, cited for not having a
"meaningful management and staff presence." The station was
visited and advised of the Main Studio Rule Violation,
but did nothing at all. A subsequent visit three weeks later
found exactly the same conditions. A "Director and Officer"
of the station was contacted - and told the agent "she was
not aware of the main studio requirement... "
Notice of Apparent Liability is located here.
73.1745(a) - A $6,000 forfeiture has been proposed
for KCKX, OR, which did not lower power at sunset
from 1000 Watts to 15 Watts as required. The station owner
told this agent that he knew he was required to reduce power
under Section 73.1745(a), but "it was too expensive" to do
11.35(a) - In one of the more bizarre NALs (Notice
of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture), the
EB has tagged station KANR, Belle Plaine, Kansas for not
having an operational EAS box for somewhere between four
and ten years.
According to the response to the FCC, KANR disconnected the
power cord to their EAS "sometime between the year
2000 and the year 2006 and had remained inoperable since
The station had no idea when its last EAS test was conducted.
The inattention to following the FCC Rules was also noted in their
failure to renew the paint on the tower or make the daily
the tower lights, which were either dark or not flashing. (The
station "offered" an observation was made sometime during
the daytime!) And then there is the little matter of a
Public File that was missing the required
Issues/Programs lists the past two years.
FCC has released news of a couple of fines this week that, if nothing
else, offer a few things for stations and engineers to put on their
list to "check" for compliance:
a station in Santa Monica,
CA was cited for not monitoring the proper stations for
EAS purposes. KCRU had apparently changed from the
assigned stations, but never checked with the state and
local coordinating committees.
a contest was ruled bad
because the station, WWEG(FM) had picked a winner before
the stated end of the contest - and sure enough, a
listener showed up and after not being allowed to enter the
contest, filed a compaint with the FCC.
The upshot: a $4000 fine.
WWWK pulled an $8500 fine for not having the Main
Studio manned during business hours and EAS gear that
did not work.
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