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Kansas Radio Groups at Risk of $25,000 Forfeiture

The FCC said Rocking M and Melia violated its equal employment opportunity rules

The FCC Enforcement Bureau has proposed a $25,000 fine against Rocking M Media LLC and Melia Communications Inc. for violating its equal employment opportunity rules.

The commission’s EEO rules prohibit broadcasters from discriminating in hiring on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin or gender, and require most broadcasters to document their recruitment efforts “to ensure that all qualified individuals have an opportunity to apply for and be considered as job applicants.”

In its Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, the FCC said the Kansas-based broadcast groups are believed to have violated commission rules by failing to upload their annual EEO Public File Reports to the stations’ online public inspection files, as well as by failing to upload their EEO Public File Reports to the stations’ websites.

Additionally, the FCC said the groups failed to “broadly recruit” for certain vacancies, analyze their EEO programs and maintain their recruitment records.

Rocking M Media is the licensee of KXXX(AM) and KRDQ(FM) in Colby, Kan.; KGNO(AM), KZRD(FM) and KAHE(FM) in Dodge City, Kan.; and KERP(FM) in Ingalls, Kan.

Melia Communications is the licensee of KWGB(FM) in Colby, Kan.; and KKCI(FM) and KLOE(AM) in Goodland, Kan.

In its NAL, the FCC reports that Rocking M and Melia are small, family-run businesses managed by Monte M. Miller and Doris D. Miller.

The commission said that, because of significant operational challenges, both licensees experienced a sharp drop in their number of employees — to the extent that, in late 2021, the Colby/Goodland stations had only one full-time employee and the Dodge City/Ingalls stations had fewer than five full-time employees.

The FCC said a review of operations show that the licensees failed to file EEO Public File Reports for the Dodge City/Ingalls stations from February 2019 through January 2021, as well as the EEO Public File Report for the Colby/Goodland stations from February 2019 through January 2020.

Additionally, the FCC said the licensees failed to recruit, and to recruit adequately, for two of five vacancies in the Colby/Goodland grouping of stations.

In response to a Letter of Inquiry issued by the Enforcement Bureau, the FCC said both licensees acknowledged the untimely filing of required documents, and attributed the delay to “inadvertence” and “significant disruptions” in their operations.

It its NAL, the FCC concluded that Rocking M and Melia apparently violated EEO Rules on several counts. The groups are therefore liable to pay $25,000 for apparent violations. Rocking M and Melia have 30 days to pay or file a written statement seeking reduction or cancellation of the proposed forfeiture.

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