The Federal Communications Commission continues to hand out forfeitures to stations that fail to file their license renewal application on time.
Whether it’s only a few days late or nearly four months overdue, the FCC rules on license renewal application deadlines matter are clear: a broadcast station license renewal must be filed by the first day of the fourth calendar month before the license expires. For WPGS Inc., the deadline for filing a license renewal application for station WPGS(AM) in Mims, Fla., was Oct. 19, 2019. WPGS finally submitted the application on Jan. 31, 2020 — a day before the license outright expired on Feb. 1, 2020. The licensee did not provide an explanation, the Media Bureau said in its forfeiture order.
The FCC has some wiggle room on the amount a proposed forfeiture should be — based on the severity or length of the violation — but the base forfeiture amount for a violation like this is $3,000. In July 2021, the Media Bureau sent a Notice of Apparently Liability for Forfeiture to WPGS Inc. giving them 30 days to either pay or file a written statement asking for cancellation of the proposed forfeiture. As of Nov. 1, 2021, the licensee had not responded.
Accordingly, the Media Bureau released an order concluding that WPGS Inc. willfully violated the rules. The request for payment of the $3,000 still stands and is due before Dec. 1, 2021.