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U of Arkansas NCEs Admit to Underwriting Oops

KBPU(FM) and KTYC(FM) incurred $76K civil penalty for 2016 announcements

University of Arkansas CossatotA pair of noncoms licensed to the University of Arkansas will pay a $76,000 civil penalty after admitting to violating the FCC’s underwriting laws.

KBPU(FM) of De Queen, Ark., and KTYC(FM) of Nashville, Ark., will also implement a five-year compliance plan coordinated with the Enforcement Bureau.

Both noncommercial education stations are managed by Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas.

In September 2016, KBPU(FM) and KTYC(FM) ran multiple announcements that “promoted their for-profit underwriters’ products or services and contained qualitative descriptions and comparative language, pricing information, and/or calls to action” over the course of three days. A complaint with a transcript was filed (EB-IHD-17-00024914) against the university. As part of the consent decree, the university admitted that the transcript is accurate, despite retraining staff on underwriting rules.

The University of Arkansas will now be required to make four payments of $19,000 to the U.S. Treasury and will also file regular compliance reports to prove they are taking steps to ensure these violations do not occur again.

The order was adopted and released Jan. 7. Read the order and consent decree (DA 20-12) here.