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Ohio LPFM Won’t Have to Pay Fine

FCC accepts its plea of financial hardship

The Federal Communications Commission has canceled a $3,500 penalty against a low-power radio station in Ohio.

The FCC’s Media Bureau had issued the notice of apparent liability for forfeiture to Lighthouse Ministries of Northwest Ohio, licensee of WKJH(LP) in Bryan, Ohio for failing to file a license renewal application and “willfully and repeatedly” violating the Communications Act by staying on the air after the license had expired.

An application should have been filed by June 1, 2020, to avoid expiration on Oct. 1. The station did not file a renewal application, so the bureau issued a public notice announcing the station’s license had expired.

Not until late October did the station file its application and ask for reconsideration, and the FCC then set a $3,500 penalty. But the station replied that it did not have the resources to pay, and it submitted financial documentation to that effect.

“We accept licensee’s showing — based on its financial statements — that payment of the proposed forfeiture would create a financial hardship,” the FCC wrote. “Accordingly, we will cancel the proposed forfeiture.” But it admonished the station for its “willful violation.”