FCC Reaffirms Two Fines, Cuts Another

Public file violation, late renewal and unauthorized operation catch Enforcement Bureau’s eye
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Public file violation, late renewal and unauthorized operation catch Enforcement Bureau’s eye

In separate cases, the FCC reaffirmed a $10,000 fine for a public file violation by WSCS(FM), New London, N.H., reaffirmed a $4,000 penalty against KZUE(AM), El Reno, Okla. for unauthorized operation and reduced a penalty for WTBR(FM), Pittsfield, Mass., in a late license renewal filing.

In the WSCS case, the agency said when the noncom filed for license renewal in 2005, the station indicated it had issues/program lists for 2000–2002 in its public file. Two quarterly issues/program lists from 2005 were reconstructed from station logs. The commission first issued the $10,000 fine in 2007.

The station argued the fine should be lifted because WSCS is a college station serving an educational purpose and the student-run facility should get some leniency. It also pledged to prevent future violations by designating a nonstudent to oversee its public file.

The FCC rejected the arguments and reaffirmed the fine; licensee Colby-Sawyer College has 30 days to pay.

The commission also issued a $4,000 Forfeiture Order to La Tremenda Radio Mexico, licensee of KZUE(AM), El Reno, Okla., for filing its license renewal application late and operating without an STA in the interim.

The station thought it had filed on time and had trouble with the commission’s electronic filing system. It also said the fine would cause financial hardship. The FCC said the station misread the e-filing directions. However the agency cut the amount from the original $7,000 because the FCC can only issue a fine for violations occurring within a year of the original notice.

Finally, the commission cut most of WTBR’s fine based on its past history of good compliance with commission rules. WTBR’s licensee, the Pittsfield Public School Committee, asked for reconsideration of a $7,000 for filing its renewal application late. The agency cut the fine to $5,600.

— Leslie Stimson