Two AM Stations, Two $10,000 Fines

Two AM stations, one in Pennsylvania, one in Ohio, face $10,000 penalties from the FCC in unrelated cases.

The commission issued a notice of apparent liability to Taylor Broadcasting, which owns WJTB(AM) in Elyria, Ohio, for allegedly failing to maintain a management and staff presence at its main studio.

It said agents visited to inspect in March 2010 but found the main studio locked and apparently empty. According to the FCC, a “Ms. Taylor” drove up and identified herself but told them they’d have to talk to a “Mr. Taylor” and gave them his phone number; they were unable to reach him or gain access to the studio. Later, after the FCC wrote a letter of inquiry, the company replied that its personnel do not work specific days and times, but rather are “scheduled as needed” — and that the agents should have pushed the entry buzzer, according to the commission summary. But when FCC agents returned in August, they again found the door locked, with no one answering knocks, and no entry buzzer.

Taylor Broadcasting’s claim that station personnel are “scheduled as needed” has not resulted in a meaningful management and staff presence at its main studio, the FCC has ruled. The base fine for such cases is $7,000 but the commission set the penalty at $10,000, saying Taylor’s “continued failure to comply with the commission’s main studio requirements even after being advised …demonstrates a deliberate disregard for the rules.”

In a separate enforcement action, the FCC has issued a $10,000 NAL to Curran Communications and its station WPAM(AM) in Pottsville, Pa., for problems with its quarterly issues/programs lists.

The FCC said it visited in August of 2011 and found that the station was missing 20 quarterly issues/programs lists in its public file, all the lists since its renewal application was granted in 2006. “The agent asked the station’s chief operator if any of the quarterly radio issues program lists were available,” the FCC wrote. “The chief operator responded that the station does not maintain such records.”

In both of these cases the broadcasters have 30 days to appeal for reduction or cancellation.

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Comment List:

Why are they so bent out of shape for this little AM station, when there is a local AM here with plywood over all the windows and doors and they send a feed from Jimmy Swigart's house to the transmitter? The building sees a human all of twice a year. What's the big deal? If you need a manned studio, then I think the rule should apply to all 'satellater' stations too - they should be manned.
By Justice Phourall on 2/16/2012

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