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Missed License Renewal Earns FM Translator a $3,500 Forfeiture

Natkim Radio allegedly failed to file a renewal and cover permit on time for FM translator station

FCC, Federal Communications CommissionThe FCC Media Bureau has found an FM translator permittee liable for $3,500 for apparently willfully violating FCC Rules regarding filing a renewal license.

The bureau issued a construction permit for FM translator station W285FR in Palatka, Fla., to Natkim Radio in 2018 with an expiration date of Jan. 17, 2021. However, Natkim did not file a covering license application by that date and the permit expired. Nearly two months later Natkim filed a petition for reconsideration demonstrating that the translator was built and that they wanted to proceed with licensing. The bureau treated the petition as a waiver request, granted it, reinstated the permit and gave the permittee until Aug. 13, to file a covering license application. Just before the deadline, on Aug. 12, Natkim filed the application.

[Read: For Willfully Operating Without a License, Permittee Handed $3,500 Forfeiture]

But the permittee failed to file a covering license as required by FCC Rules and continued transmitting for nearly a month after the permit expired.

As a result, the Media Bureau issued a Notice of Apparent Liability. The commission’s Forfeiture Policy Statement establishes a base forfeiture amount of $3,000 for failing to file a required form and a base forfeiture of $10,000 for construction or operation without a permit. Based on its review of the facts and circumstances, the bureau found that a $7,000 base forfeiture is appropriate because the licensee failed to file a covering license application for the translator and engaged in unauthorized operation after the permit expired.

Taking into consideration all of the factors required by the Communications Act, the bureau decided to reduce the forfeiture further to $3,500 because the station is a translator and as such the station provides a secondary service.

As a result, Natkim Radio has 30 days to pay the full amount or file a written statement seeking reduction or cancellation of the proposed forfeiture.