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FCC Moves to Cancel Forfeitures After Catching its Own Errors

Three N.C. broadcasters were initially accused of failing to submit timely license renewals

Even the Federal Communications Commission makes a mistake once in a while. And in the case of a potential financial liability, that can be good news for the stations concerned.

The commission cancelled several Notices of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture that had been issued to three radio stations in North Carolina — Radio Hatteras, CTC Media Group and Pirate Media Group.

[Read: Out-of-Date Online Files Being Investigated by FCC]

In the case of Radio Hatteras, the FCC said that station WHDZ(FM) in Buxton, N.C., had failed to file a timely license renewal application for the station, which was due Aug. 1, 2019. The FCC said the license renewal application was not filed on time — the FCC said it was filed Oct. 25, 2019 — but in reality Radio Hatteras filed the application on July 30, 2019. In reality, the filing made on Oct. 25, 2019, was an amendment to the application. Since the application was timely filed, the FCC cancelled the NAL.

The same was the case for CTC Media Group, which is licensee of FM translator station W282CQ in Bridgeton, N.C., for the same alleged offense: failing to timely file a license renewal application for the station. The background is the same as it was for Radio Hatteras — the FCC said the station failed its renewal by Aug. 1, 2019. In this case, however,  the commission had actually issued the initial license for the station on Aug. 12. 2019, therefore there was no need for CTC to file a renewal application.

The commission also cancelled a Notice of Apparent Liability for a Forfeiture issued to Pirate Media Group, licensee of FM translator station W281CH in Washington, N.C., for the same alleged violations. But in this case, too, the commission had already issued a license for the station on Sept.11, 2019, so it was impossible for Pirate to file an application to renew the station’s license.

In all three cases, the FCC has cancelled all of the forfeitures.