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Failure to File a Renewal Application Trips Up Two Licensees in Louisiana

A radio station inside Angola prison was one of two FM stations that allegedly failed to file license renewal applications

All across Louisiana — whether your station is behind prison walls or in a tiny village in the middle of the Pelican State — failing to file a license renewal application on time can result in a monetary forfeiture.

That is the case for the so-called Incarceration Station. KLSP(FM) is a Class A station run by the Louisiana State Penitentiary, the nation’s largest maximum-security prison. Angola Penitentiary, as this former plantation is known, was designed to function as small, self-sustaining community complete with a fire department, a dairy and a radio station — making Angola the only penitentiary in the U.S. to be issued an FCC license to operate a station.

Established in 1986, KLSP (whose call letters denote the Louisiana State Penitentiary) is 100-watt station that operates on 91.7 from inside the prison. Those broadcasts can be picked up by the 6,000 prisoners and 1,800 staff spread across Angola, a compound larger than the island of Manhattan. Interestingly, former prisoners include musicians Lead Belly and Freddy Fender.

[Read: Arizona Licensee Gets Green Light on License After Agreeing to $15K Consent Decree]

But whether inside or outside of prison, FCC rules are rules. And the Media Bureau delivered a Notice of Apparent Liability and Forfeiture to the station in mid-November for apparently violating a section of the commission’s rules that requires a licensee to renew its broadcast station license within a specific timeline. That deadline is no later than the first day of the fourth full calendar month prior to the expiration date of the license.

For the Louisiana State Penitentiary, the application for renewal should have been filed by Dec. 2, 2019. According to the Media Bureau, the application was not filed until May 29, 2020, and the licensee provided no explanation for the lateness of the filing.

In this case, the FCC chose to set a $3,000 monetary forfeiture, which is the base forfeiture amount that the FCC can set in cases like these.

The situation was similar for station KVDP(FM) in Dry Prong, La. The licensee of the station — Dry Prong Educational Broadcasting Foundation — also allegedly failed to file a license renewal application. In this case, the application should have been filed by Dec. 2, 2019, but was not filed until May 22, 2020, with no explanation for the late filing.

As a result, the FCC has notified Dry Prong Educational Broadcasting Foundation that it has an apparent liability for forfeiture in the amount of $3,000.

Both Dry Prong and the Louisiana State Penitentiary have 30 days from the delivery of the Notice of Apparently Liability to pay the forfeiture or file a statement seeking reduction or cancellation of the forfeiture.