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FCC Fines Address Public File Problems

In one case, the commission rules that language issues were beside the point

Two stations have been hit with FCC fines in separate public file cases, though each succeeded in having their fines reduced a bit.

HK Media, licensee of KFOX(AM) in Torrance, Calif., was fined for failing to maintain and make available its public inspection file at the main studio. When an agent from the FCC’s L.A. office came to visit in 2010, the commission wrote, “The station’s staff, including the operations manager and contract engineer, could not locate the public inspection file.”

It said the president of HK Media later reported that its public file had been destroyed by water damage at the studio four months earlier. The commission upheld its ruling but reduced the fine from $10,000 to $8,000 due to the station’s history of compliance.

Separately, the FCC fined Hispanic Target Media Inc. for a public file violation at KUKY(FM), Wellton, Ariz. This case dated to a 2009 visit by agents from the San Diego Office to the main studio in Yuma.

“The agents were greeted by the station’s general manager and began their inspection,” the commission summary reports. The agents asked to view the public inspection file but the manager did not understand the agents’ request and said the station had not maintained a file. “The station manager replied he was not aware one was required and that no such file was maintained at station KUKY(FM).”

The FCC issued an NAL for $10,000. HTM then responded saying that it did in fact maintain a complete KUKY(FM) public file at the local library. It said the station manager was not fluent in English and had not understood the questions asked by the agents.

The commission rejected the argument that language problems were relevant; it said regardless, the public file had not been not maintained at the main studio nor made available at time of inspection. However the FCC reduced the fine to $8,000, citing the station’s ��good faith efforts.”