Early Transfer of Control Leads to $8,000 Fine

Issue centers around stations in California’s Sierra Nevada
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A radio station licensee in California has come to an agreement with the Federal Communications Commission after she was accused of unlawfully transferring control of three stations.

Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa filed a complaint against Katherine M. Bohn, licensee of stations KVLI(AM) and KRVQ(FM) in Lake Isabella and KCNQ(FM) in Kernville. The complaint alleged that Bohn engaged in an unauthorized transfer of control by not maintaining a management presence at the stations’ main studio, and that she violated sections of the Communications Act and the FCC rules after a member of the public experienced a two-hour delay in obtaining access to the station’s public inspection files.

The Communications Act says that ultimate responsibility for essential station matters, such as personnel, programming and finances, cannot be delegated to another entity. Alta Sierra Broadcasting had been exercising an option to purchase the stations under a TBA and a request for license transfer had been submitted in 2014.

The rules also required that public inspection files must be available for public inspection “at any time during regular businesses hours.”

According to an FCC summary of the case, Bohn has agreed that Alta Sierra assumed control of the stations without prior commission authorization. She also agreed to have a full-time staff and management presence at the stations’ main studios, and show proof of that to the commission.

As a result, the commission entered into a Consent Decree with Bohn, as the FCC does when it finds that the public interest is likely to be best served by moving on from the investigation. She must pay an $8,000 fine and ensure that there is full-time management and staff presence at the stations.

This is not the first time that the Bohn family has been handed hefty forfeiture notices from the FCC. In 2011, licensees Robert and Katherine Bohn were handed a total of $21,000 in fines for failing to file license renewal applications in a timely manner and engaging in unauthorized operation of the three stations.

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