The Broadcasters' Desktop Resource

FCC Enforcement Watch Archives: 2018

Some NALs (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.

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.

12/6/18 – 73.845 – When constructing a station, is seems like it is obvious to build it where approved. An NOV sent to WQJJ-LP in Jasper AL, suggests they were off by about 4 miles from bring in the right place. The FCC is asking for the station’s explanation.

12/4/18 – 17.2317.4817.57 – When a station tower changes hands (whether the station is sold as well, or not), the Commission must be notified of the correct ownership and contact information. Also, every station whose license specifies a lit tower must ensure it is operating properly – or promptly notify the FAA of issues. .An NOV to MTS, Inc. in Bradley, IL, notes both problems existed and requires an answer to the Commission.

11/29/18 – 17.417.617.4873.1740 – When a station owner dies, especially a smaller market owner, paperwork problems can crop up rapidly due to those caring for the station not fully understanding the Rules. That appears to be the reason for the NOV issues to the Estate of James Rouse for WTOW, Washington NC. The station was on an unregistered tower over 200 feet and without FAA approval. The lights were not working, and the station was silent for longer than permitted. The Commission has asked for corrections and explanations.

11/16/18 – 73.845 – When a CP is issued, it is important to build according to the CP, not just where the station decides it is convenient. 305 Community Radio, owner of WMIV-LP, Miami FL, was issued an NOV for constructing at 45 m RCAG as opposed to the 15 m granted. Additionally, the constructed site was approximately 5.3 miles from the authorized site specified in the CP.

11/13/18 – Section 319(a) – The FCC really gets upset for stations to build facilities without authorization (a CP). Preliminary site preparation can be OK, but installing an antenna is absolutely “not good.” KJJG-LP, South Houston, TX, was issued a Memorandum of Opinion and NALF for $5k, for constructing a new site before a CP was issued. Interestingly, the FCC noted the violation was for duration of only three weeks, and reduced the original fine by half.

10/21/18 – A Chicago TV station aired EAS tones as part of a news teaser related to an Amber Alert earlier in the day. Robert Feder’s column also notes large fines the FCC has been issuing for this sort of action.

10/18/18 – 1.89 – An NOV was issued to Marion Williams‘ W288DL in Clinton MS for not having notified the FCC that construction of the translator was complete and being fed with programming – yet was it was not rebroadcasting the AM station to which it was tied (the AM was not even on the air).

10/17/18 – 74.1263 – The FCC does not like it when stations are turned off without an STA or surrendering the license. Failure to do so earned Alaska Educational Radio System a Forfeiture Order for $8k for discontinuing operation of K223BJ and K283AZ without authority. The fine was reduced from $10k when AERS turned in the license of a separate station

9/22/18 – 73.3527 – The FCC has reached a Consent Decree and $1k payment to the US Treasury for failing to file quarterly Issues And Programs from 2004 to 2014 – 12 years. Acknowledging that the then student run station WMPH. Wilmington DE, was still required to have complied with the FCC Rules, the FCC invoked a policy where first time NCEFM offenders would not be fined as usual, but permitted a small payment from the Brandywine School District to the Treasury.

9/18/18 – 73.84573.875 – An NOV was issued to WDKK-LP, Hollywood, FL, for apparently moving to a site over 12 km from their licensed site, without permission. The station has been asked to explain!

7/19/18 – 73.3539 – It seems a steady trickle of “failure to file renewal on time” NALs are going to lead right up to the next renewal period. An NAL issud to KMFR, Peasiall, TX, starts with a $7k fine, for late renewal and unauthorized operation in 2017, but was reduced to $5.6k.

7/18/18 – 73.51574.126373.1740, and 73.1745 – As Keeping not only your main station on the air, but also translators – or at least informing the FCC of what you are doing is essential. The Alaska Educational Radio System has received NALFs (#and #2) and Orders from the Commission including fines of $30k. The main issue revolves around KABN-FM Kasilof, AK, and its translators. The main station was operating at reduced power without FCC consent and was silent for extended periods without consent. The FCC noted that this would, reasonably, include translators. While a protest was lodged by a competitor, the FCC decided to renew KABN and its translator’s licenses, but issued a total of $30k in fines for the infractions.

7/3/18 – The FCC has issued a Public Notice that they intend to take a look at tightening up EEO enforcement. Chairman Pai has indicated he would like to shift enforcement of EEO issues from the Media Bureau to the Enforcement Bureau.

6/6/18 – There seems to be some attention given to LPFM stations, being where they are supposed to be, with correct tower height and power output. Two LPFMs: KOOH-LP, Hanford, CA, and WDKK-LP, Hollywood, FL have received NOVs for being as much as 4 miles from their authorized site, using five bay antennas instead of one and being at the wrong height (more than 2 meters above or 4 meters below authorization). Stations were give time to respond before a forfeiture is issued.

6/5/19 – The FCC does not like gear that radiates where it should not – especially with excessive power. Hobby King, a manufacturer of audio/video transmitters, especially for use with Drones is facing an NALF for $2.8 million for not preventing use outside authorized frequencies and with twice the power authorized. Meanwhile Bear Brands (dba Pure Enrichment) is facing an NAL for $590k for failing to prevent their products from improper radiation. The FCC also issued a warning to other manufacturers to be careful.

5/30/18 – Just because you “forgot” to file your renewal or STA application on time does not mean you can keep broadcasting without penalty. WBNZ(FM) Frankfort, MI. received an MO&O and NALF for $18k for $18,000 for unauthorized operations, late-filed Special Temporary Authority request, and failure to disclose material information.

4/26/18 – Operating a signal jammer is among those actions that will get the FCC’s attention. While the Forfeiture Order for $22k issued to Ravi’s Import Warehouse in Dallas is not essential broadcast oriented, it does show the FCC does not tolerate cell (or any other) jammers – even if the goal is to prevent employees from using their cell phones at work. Furthermore, telling an Field Agent you just tossed it in the dumpster is not a particularly good defense. (There is also a hint that the owner offered to sell it to the FCC Field Agent – an offer declined.)

4/17/18 – Another station that was very late in filing for a renewal gets an NALF for $7k. KMFR, Pearsall TX, filed for renewal over a month after the license expired, and then, after an STA was issued, operation after that expired. The FCC reduced the fine for unlicensed operation from $10k to $4k, dismissing the excuse that they had just bought the station in 2015 and did not realize the license ran out the following year.

4/6/18 – Inspections by the FCC can be revealing, whether or not a station uses the ABIP program in their state. An LPFM in Florida has a lot to answer to for their operation. It appears they were over 4.5 miles from their authorized spot running nearly eight times their authorized power. And, then, you ask, how did they find out about the operation at 800% of authorized power? Could it be a tip from a disgruntled employee? The NOV issued to WEXI-LP will be interesting to follow.

3/29/18 – In an unusual escalation of the FCC vs. Pirates, the FCC worked with the US Attorney’s office, the US Marshals, and the Boston Police Department to confiscate two transmitters from the Boston area. The FCC Public Notice is here.

3/28/18 – 73.3539 – As we get ready for the next round of license renewals, the NALF given to KLLS, Beaumont TX, is worth a quick read. Renewal applications need to be filed four full calendar months before the license runs out. KLLS filed, not on April 3, 2017, but on August 9th, one day before the license expired. The FCC decided this was worth a $1.5k fine. KLLS got a consolation prize, in that the fine was reduced (from $3k) and KLLS was not cited for pirate operation (after expiration of their license).

2/7/18 – 73.3526 – A series of NALs were issued to Cumulus stations in South Carolina following a $20k NAL for EEO violations (see 12/12/17, below). This time, the total is $58k in NALs for failure to keep the Issues and Programs documentation in the Public File. NALs went to WSEAWSYNWRWMWLFF, and WDAI12/23/17 – 11.3511.5217.6173.1820, 73.1840 – Even LPFMs must care for EAS responsibilities and maintain gear in good condition, keep logs, and determine the reason for any missing tests. The NOV to KZUP-LP in Los Angeles says that the station was negligent and seeks a written explanation and corrective actions taken.