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Boone Biblical Fails to Make Its Case

Commission upholds $20,000 fine for public file violations at two stations

Boone Biblical Ministries has failed in its effort to get the FCC to reduce or overturn a $20,000 penalty involving its radio stations’ public files.

The Federal Communications Commission has confirmed the fine to the licensee of stations KFFF(AM/FM) in Boone, Iowa. (The AM is the former KFGQ.) The commission originally issued the decision in 2007.

The ministry acknowledged that when it filed for license renewal, its files did not have the required issues/programs lists. But it later told the FCC it had located misplaced files with most of the info and had obtained the rest from programming sources. The commission ruled in 2007 that violations had been “extensive” and occurred over the entire term of the licenses, eight years.

The owner then appealed on several grounds. The FCC now has rejected those arguments.

One notable aspect here is that Boone argued that a $10,000 fine per station was disproportionate to penalties imposed on similar “small religious broadcasters.”

The commission said the amount is in fact consistent with recent precedent. Referring to a specific earlier case where lower fines were involved, Peter Doyle, the chief of the Audio Division, now writes: “Insofar as the underlying Notice of Apparent Liability in [the] Faith Christian [case] may be read to suggest that forfeiture amounts of $3,000 are appropriate in cases where there are eight or more issues-programs lists missing from a renewal applicant’s public inspection file, we disavow [that case] to the extent that it is inconsistent with other, more recent forfeitures issued for similar violations.”