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.
------> 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.
8/10/20 - 315(e)(3), 73.1943 - It seems each day several more groups of Consent Decrees again have gone out from the FCC, for many stations - most smaller than the first group - in the current renewal queue. The Commission is apparently serious about the failure of proper political file entries in many of those stations' files. This should be a warning to all stations still working on their renewals, as well as anyone taking political ads in the coming election season.
While it is not stated directly, it is apparent that we are seeing one of the "advantages" of having the FCC Public Information File online: Candidates and organizations can scan your Public File to see if there are any competing political ads and how much is being paid for them. This likely drove enough complaints that the FCC felt they had to do something about it.
8/5/20 - 1.903(a), 74.1235(e) - FM stations are licensed by ERP (Effective Radiated Power), while translators are licensed by TPO (Transmitter Power Output). These are not the same. Ondas de Vida's K256BS in Palmdale CA has received a Memorandum Opinion and Order affirming a $12k fine for running excessive power. The amount, numerically, was not that great: 7.5 W TPO vs 5 W licensed into a directional antenna, to create 33.7 W ERP. But, as the FM band continues to become more crowded, the FCC is taking a stronger stance against such actions by stations.
The licensee sought a reduction, based on no previous monetary fines. However, the FCC pointed out their record was not quite so good,(Footnote 41!) with other examples of excessive power and other violations.
7/22/20 - 315(e)(3), 73.1943 - The FCC requires stations to upload additions to the Political File "as soon as possible" for public inspection. Six major groups have not been doing so, but the Commission has decided to a Consent Decree, where Alpha Media USA LLC; Beasley Media Group Licenses, LLC; Cumulus Media New Holdings Inc.; Entercom License, LLC; iHeartMedia, Inc.; and Salem Media Group, Inc. - holders of 1884 commercial licenses - will implement strict compliance programs and report on the compliance programs to the Media Bureau for the next 17 months.
Meanwhile, KVOZ, Del Mar Hills TX, received a "pay up or lose the license" notice (aka Show Cause) from the FCC, for failure to pay regulatory fees for the past four years. The company is to pay some $12k plus fines and interest in 60 days or KVOZ becomes DKVOZ.
Replaying a program previously recorded? If there is probability the average listener might think it is live, it never hurts to disclose the origins. In general, voicetracking tends to follow the pattern of automation, with previously recorded voices run over music, etc. However, we are not lawyers here. If in doubt, consult your DC attorney.
With applications now on-line and the Public File on-line, the FCC is a lot less tolerant of late or missing filings.
But two NALs show an escalation of the FCC's Enforcement Bureau's actions. Radio TeleBoston and Radio Concorde are being cited for various illegal operations and ignoring the FCC's warnings. Potential fines of $453k and $151k are noticed.
The FCC Commissioners have issued statements condemning pirates but, aside from issuing higher and higher fines, few solutions have been found.
One of the companies that has become a bit infamous for this game is Cochise Broadcasting (and several iterations of similar names), run by Ted Tucker. In two sharply worded ORDERs, The Commission stripped Cochise of its license for KXMK, Oatman, AZ, noting that since January 2014, the station operated, by Cochise's admission, at most three days. The ORDER states the license - and equipment - is to be given to a non-profit entity or surrendered.
21 additional Cochise stations were put on notice to donate at least 10 licenses and either operate or similarly donate or surrender the remaining licenses. A revealing chart is included showing operations of as little as one day (a couple show "0"), over several years.
1/28/15 - 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 issued a Public Notice that you can refer to ... or carry a copy with you to show hotel employees and help them back down.
1/27/15 - 73.1740 - 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.
1/26/15 - 325, 11.45 - 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. And there is another lesson here.
1/20/15 - 11.45 - 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 well as a Public Notice on the matter.
1/8/15 - 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. The well-deserved Forfeiture Order (usually $10k) is for $25k. Whether Buckley will pay up or not, the interference needs to stop.
1/8/15 - 303(q), 17.47, 17.48, 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.
12/19/14 - 73.2080 - 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 notice7 will get you into trouble.)
This time, iHeart's Savanna, GA stations were found guilty of violating the EEO rules when hiring new staffers, and received 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 EEO rules.
12/19/14 - 73.2080 - 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.
12/18/14 - 303(q), 11.35, 17.50, 17.51 - Back in July (7/30/14, below), Pittman Broadcasting received two Memorandum Opinion and Orders totalling $12k for KVOL-AM and WUUU-FM 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 2/3.
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 in the 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."
12/16/14 - 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 8/1/13, below).
12/10/14 - 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.
12/10/14 - Section 503(b)(5), Section 325(a), 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 above.
12/9/14 - 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.
12/9/14 - 11.35 - 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.
12/8/14 - 73.1212 - A 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.
12/2/14 - 73.1206 - 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, 73.3526 - 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 brought 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 License had expired.
11/4/14 - 73.49 - 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.
10/14/14 - 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 got 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.
10/3/14 - 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 their operations.
918/14 - 17.50, 73.49 - 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.
9/5/14 - 73.3526 - The FCC reaffirmed the violation at Western Slope's two stations in Colorade (see 7/10/13, below) for not having complete Public Files. The 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 inspection.
9/5/14 - 73.49 - 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 reduction.)
8/29/14 - 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.
8/28/14 - 303(q), 17.47, 17.56 - A 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.
8/22/14 - 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.
8/13/13 - 73.3527 - 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 File violations.
8/5/14 - 17.57 - 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%).
7/30/14 - 303(q), 11.35, 17.50, 17.51 - Pittman Broadcasting received two Forfeiture Orders totalling $36.5k for KVOL-AM and WUUU-FM 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.
7/29/14 - 1.1310, 73.1560 - 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.
7/13/14 - 303(q), 17.48, 17.51, 17.57 - 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.
6/26/14 - 73.49 - 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.
6/19/14 - 303(q), 17.23, 17.48 - 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 received an NALF for $10k - and is required to turn the lights back on, even though they had been off for eight years.
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 this one.
6/9/14 - 17.50 - Failure to maintain lighting exposed another violation at two towers: failure to conform to the terms of authorization. The 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. The other 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.
6/9/14 - 11.35 - 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.
6/3/14 - 73.49 - 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 owner.
6/3714 - 303(q), 17.47, 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.
5/28/14 - 73.1745 - 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.
4/29/14 - 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 Public Notice.
4/28/14 - 73.1125, 73.1225, 73.1350 - $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)
4/24/14 - 17.57 - 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 10/25/13, below).
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 "expected."
4/4/14 - 73.3539 - Failure to file the License Renewal application on time brought an 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.
3/27/14 - 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.
3/21/14 - 73.49 - 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.
3/21/14 - 73.1216 - 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.
3/20/14 - 73.35 & 73.1125(a) - 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 future violations.
3/12/14 - 73.1740 - 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 operating requirements.
3/11/14 - 73.3527 - 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 warning.
3/5/14 - 73.3526 - 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 span.
3/3/14 - 11.45 - 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?
2/2714 - 303(q), 17.47, 17.48, 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 Bureau. An NALF for $15k is the result. However, it is likely this is not over.
2/20/14 - 73.1125, 73.3526 - 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 hours.
2/19/14 - 11.35 - 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 not operational.
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.
2/7/14 - 73.3526 - 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.
2/7/14 - 11.35 - 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.
2/5/14 - 73.3527 - 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.
2/5/14 - 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 Forfeiture Order.
2/5/13 - 73.3539 - Failure to file the License Renewal application on time brought an 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.
2/3/14 - 73.3526 - 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 secure.
1/29/14 - 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, etc.)
1/28/14 - 1.89 - 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!
1/24/14 - 11.35 - 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.
1/23/14 - 73.49 - 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.
1/16/14 - 73.49 - Failure to maintain an effective locked fence around AM towers brought 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 property.
1/15/14 - 11.45 - 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. Today an 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.
1/10/14 - 73.3527 - 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.
1/9/14 - 73.1745 - 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
1/8/14 - 73.3526 - 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.
12/19/13 - 73.3526 - 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.
12/5/13 - Another EEO 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.
11/18/13 - 1.903 - 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.
11/5/13 - 11.45 - 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
11/5/13 - 11.45 - 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 US Debt.
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 chapters.
11/5/13 - 303(q), 17.47, 17.48, 17.51 - Another Alaskan tower owner fell afoul of the FCC rules regarding daily verification of proper operation and received 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.
11/4/13 - 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.
11/1/13 - 303(q), 17.21, 17.23, 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.
10/29/13 - 73.3526 - A 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.
10/29/13 - 73.3526 - Failure to provide a Public File for a Field Agent (Seel 7/29/11, below) netted an NAL for KFOX, Torrance, CA. In issuing the Forfeiture Order to HK Media, the Commission did reduce the amount from $10k to $8k because the station had a good history of compliance.
10/29/13 - 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 reductions.
10/29/13 - 11.35, 11.51, 11.52 - 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 week, a 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.
10/28/13 - 73.3526 - 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 $10k.
10/25/13 - 17.57 - 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.
10/25/13 - 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.
10/24/13 - 73.62, 73.1560, 73.1745, 73.3526 - 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.
9/27/13 - 73.1015, 73.3526 - 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 licensing implications.
9/25/13 - 73.3527 - 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!
9/11/12 - 303(q), 17.47, 17.48, 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."
9/6/13 - 73.3573, 73.5005 - 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, issued today demonstrate that point, one of the was for missing the deadline by just one day.
8/30/13 - 11.56, 11.52 - 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."
8/1/13 - 73.1125, 73.3526 - 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.
8/1/13 - 11.21, 11.15, 11.35, 73.3526, 73.1870, 73.1590 - 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 - An unusual 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."
7/24/13 - 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 rejected.
7/10/13 - 73.3526 - A station's 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 increased 25%.
6/27/13 - 73.3526 - Public File violations usually start at $10k. However, in a case where six years of Issues & Programs Lists were missing, the FCC reduced the fine to 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 has issued 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, 17.50, 17.51, 73.1745 - 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 Pittman stations, 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.
5/16/13 - 17.56 - 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 bankrupt.
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.
4/25/13 - 73.1570 - A bit out of date order, it is worth noting that Lotus Communications' KVMX in Bakersfield was issued an NOV for overmodulation. While this is still a long way from the NAL, overmodulation has not been a commonly cited violation in recent years.
5/6/13 - 73.49, 73.3526, 73.1125 - 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.
5/6/12 - 11.35 - 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 tests.
5/6/13 - 17.48, 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.
5/3/13 - 17.4, 17.50, 17.57 - 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."
5/3/13 - 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 damage."
5/2/12 - 11.35 - 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 discounted fines.
(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.')
5/1/13 - 73.3526 - 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.
4/22/13 - 73.503(d), 399B - 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.
4/1/13 - Despite 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.
3/28/13 - 73.3527(c) - 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.
3/26/13 - 73.3527 - 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.
3/20/13 - 303(q), 17.47, 17.51 - The FCC really does not have a lot of patience for stations that do not quickly take care of tower light failures. Cornerstone Television received 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 station.)
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 avoid authorities.
3/11/13 - 303(q), 17.47, 17.51, 17.57 - 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, 73.3526, 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.)
3/7/13 - 17.57 - 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.
3/4/13 - 74.1236 - 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 Sheriff's helicopter.
3/4/13 - 73.1216 - A 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 for credit.
3/1/13 - 303(q), 17.47, 17.51 - 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 here, howerver.
3/1/13 - 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 (7/6/12 below). The station asked for a reduction because they could not afford it. The FCC declined to reduce the $8k fine.
3/1/13 - 73.49 - A 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.
2/28/13 - 73.3526 - 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 KASS(FM), KQLT(FM), KHOC(FM), and 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.
2/15/13 - 11.35 - 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 capacitor."
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).
2/11/13 - 73.1350, 74.1235 - Following up on a proceeding from last year, the FCC issued a 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 person?
1/24/13 - 11.35, 11.51, 11.52 - 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.
1/16/13 - 11.52, 11.61 - 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 Liability.
1/10/13 - 1.89 - 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.
1/4/13 - 15.1 - 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 KQAM and KGSO, Wichita, KS, and KGYN, Guymon, OK. Steckline's operations were tagged for:
Over power operation (156% of night time power)
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 tolerance operation.
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 power/pattern operation.
Two of three monitor points out of tolerance.
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 each week.
12/13/12 - NOVs were issued to the former licensee of two Nevada stations, KWNA and 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 Public File
No station authorization available
Missing Ownership Report from Public File
Missing Issues & Programs lists from the Public File - none were on file
Ely Radio, LLC was asked to respond.
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, 73.1740, 73.1015 - 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.
9/28/12 - 303(q), 17.47, 17.51 - Another tower lighting issue: Cox Communications received an 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 in the Forfeiture Order for $8k. As noted below (2/7/12), the station was unable to provide its Public File to Field Agents.
9/27/12 - 17.50 - 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."
9/26/12 - 303(q), 17.50 - Two of them this week. Another failure to keep tower paint properly maintained. Allegiance Communications in McAlester, OK, received their 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.
9/24/12 - 303(q), 17.50 - 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.
9/20/12 - 303(q), 17.47, 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.
9/8/12 - 11.35 - 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.
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 adjustments. The fine of $7k stands.
8/23/12 - 73.1206 - And now the other shoe: Spanish Broadcasting's WSKQ in New tm
York City got the 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.
8/22/12 - 73.1206 - 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), 73.5005(a)- NALs 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%.
8/21/12 - 73.3526, 17.57 - 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.
8/15/12 - 11.35 - LPFM stations are not immune to EAS regulations. That cost KCYP-LP in Mission, TX 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 lost.
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 renewing it, 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.
8/1/12 - 11.35, 73.1745 - 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.
7/31/12 - 301 - An NAL for $10k was issued to WSJU-TV in San Juan, PR for using an STL frequency without a license.
7/27/12 - 73.3526 - Another Self-reported violation is affirmed for WWNQ, Forest ACres, SC. 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.
7/27/12 - 73.49 - 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.
7/26/12 - 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 KASS(FM), KQLT(FM), KHOC(FM), and KMLD(FM)/WLP722.
7/26/12 - 73.1125 - 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.
7/25/12 - 73.3527 - According to 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.
7/20/12 - 73.49 - 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.
7/18/12 - 73.49 - 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.
7/18/12 - 303(q), 17.47, 17.48, 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.
7/13/12 - 303(q), 17.48, 17.50, 17.51, 17.57 - 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 tower.
7/12/12 - 11.35 - A third 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.
7/9/12 - 11.35 - A second 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.
7/6/12 - 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 Forfeiture Order.
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.
6/15/12 - 73.3526, 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.
6/14/12 - 73.1745 - 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.
6/13/12 - 17.47, 17.51, 73.1745 - 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.
6/5/12 - 73.1745 - 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.
6/5/12 - 303(q), 17.47, 17.51 - 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 ensure compliance.
5/29/12 - 73.3526, 17.57 - 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 $3k.
5/25/12 - 73.1125 - 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.
5/23/12 - 73.49 - A broken hasp cost a York, PA station $7k. WOYK was issued 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.
5/22/12 - 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.
5/18/12 - 73.1206 - Improperly recording a telephone call, even though it was not broadcast netted 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.
5/18/12 - 399, 73.503 - 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.
5/18/12 - 73.1125, 73.1225, 73.1350 - An 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.
5/15/12 - 303(q), 17.48, 17.50, 17.51, 17.57 - 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
5/15/12 - 73.3527 - 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.
5/14/12 - 73.3526, 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.
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, 73.1740 - 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 close.
4/26/12 - 73.3526 - The operator of four stations in Florida, Opus Broadcasting received four NALF's, each for $4k, this week for its WANK, WHTF, WWOF, and 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.
4/24/12 - 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, 74.1235 - 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, 73.1740, 73.1015 - 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.
4/10/12 - 73.3526, 73.3527 - 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.
4/6/12 - 73.1745 - 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
4/5/12 - 17.47, 17.51, 17.56 - The EB issued two separate NALs totalling $32k to Telava for violations in Kentucky and 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.
4/3/12 - 73.3526, 73.1745, 1.903 - 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 reduced.
4/2/12 - 73.1125, 73.3526 - 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 about 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 happened."
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 future reductions.
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.
3/9/12 - 73.3526, 73.49, 11.35 - 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 credible.
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 similar violations. BELO's WBXN-CA got one. As did the Glen Iris Baptist School (twice!). And WOIL-LP.
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 $4.5k.
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.
2/14/12 - 73.1125 - 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 calls.
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.
2/13/12 - 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, 73.1560, 11.35, 17.51 - 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 issued 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 form broadcast (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 - An 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.
1/24/12 - 1.903 - 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 operation.
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 2011.
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 footnotes.)
1/19/12 - 73.3526, 73.1745 - 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 - 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 right.
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?
12/7/11 - 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.
12/1/11 - 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 - An 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.
10/31/11 - 17.50, 73.49 - 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 again.
10/31/11 - 73.1745 - 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.
10/28/11 - 73.1125, 73.3526, 73.3539 - 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.
10/26/11 - 73.1745 - 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.
10/24/11 - 11.35, 73.1690, 73.3527 - 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 antenna.
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).
10/3/11 - 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 years later.
The arguments that the failure was unintentional and they did not get any reminders because they changed their mailing address did not move the Commission. 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 total of 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 the Commission.
9/13/11 - 1.903, 1.947, 11.35, 73.3526, 74.532 - Several violations led to a $17.5k NAL (reduced from $20k) for KRAL(AM) and KIQZ(FM) in Rawlins, WY.
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, 73.3526 - 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 before.
9/8/11 - 73.1745, 73.3526 - Another large 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 at night."
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 non-certified transmitter.
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 personnel.
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 and 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 1996-99.
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.
8/3/11 - 73.3527 - 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.
8/3/11 - 73.3526 - 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.
8/1/11 - 73.3598 - 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.
7/29/11 - 73.3526 - 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.
7/25/11 - 73.1212, 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.
7/22/11 - 73.3539 - 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 history.
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.
7/22/11 - 73.3526 - 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.
7/19/11 - 11.35, 73.49, 73.3526 - 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.
6/30/11 - 73.1125, 73.3526 - 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 $25k.
6/29/11 - 73.3527 - 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.
6/29/11 - 73.3539 - The 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.
6/29/11 - 73.3539 - The 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.
6/23/11 - 73.3539, 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!
6/20/11 - 73.3526 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.
6/7/11 - 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 lawyers' hands.
6/1/11 - 17.51, 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.
5/26/11 - 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 EB assessed $14k.
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 measurements. 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, 73.1400(a), 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 year.
5/17/11 - 73.49, 73.3526, 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 brought a $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, 73.1745(a), 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."
5/5/11 - 11.35(a), 17.47, 17.50, and 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."
5/4/11 - 17.51 - CBS' KNX, Los Angeles was sent an NAL 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.
5/4/11 - 73.3526 (e) (12) - Pilot Media and WIBL, Fairbury, IL was issued an NAL 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."
5/4/11 - 73.35 & 73.1125(a) - 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.
3/23/11 - 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.
2/17/11 - 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 consent.
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.
2/7/11 - 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.
1/31/11 - 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 station. The FCC NAL is here.
12/3/10 - A couple of interesting proposed forfeitures this week:
1. 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... " The FCC Notice of Apparent Liability is located here.
2. 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 it.
11/12/10 - 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 then." The station had no idea when its last EAS test was conducted.
17.47, 17.50, 73.3526 - The inattention to following the FCC Rules was also noted in their failure to renew the paint on the tower or make the daily observation of 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.
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 complaint 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.