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FCC Cancels $7,000 Fine for WWTW

The fine was imposed a year after the violation, too late under the agency’s rules.

The FCC gave an early present to R&B Communications, licensee of WWTM(AM), Decatur, Ala.

The commission cancelled a $7,000 fine and admonished R&B instead for operating after its license had expired.

The case began in January 2007 when the FCC approved WWTM’s license renewal application; but by that April the agency fined the station $7,000 for not filing the application on time and operating the station without authorization. The renewal should have been filed by December 2003, four months before WWTM’s license expired on April 1, 2004.

The agency said the renewal application wasn’t actually filed until March 24, 2005. That was after the Media Bureau wrote to R&B indicating that WWTM’s license had expired and that authority to operate the station had been terminated, with WWTM’s call letters being deleted from the commission’s database.

R&B told the commission its late filing was inadvertent and that it couldn’t pay the fine.

However, under the FCC’s own rules, if the violations occurred more than a year before the fine was imposed, the fine must be cancelled. That was the case here and that’s why the agency cancelled the fine and admonished R&B instead.