Poor management of their license paperwork has ended up costing some stations owned by schools.
In one case, the commission upheld an earlier $7,000 fine to Heidelberg College in Ohio for failing to file a license renewal application for WHEI(FM) in a timely way and for operating after the authorization had expired. The school appealed without success after the initial notice of apparent liability; it had argued that the omission was inadvertent and that the fine would cause financial hardship.
In a similar separate case, the commission staff confirmed a fine of $7,000 to Columbia City Joint High School station WJHS(FM) in Indiana. The licensee also said the failure was unintentional and would be a financial hardship; it also said that the FCC should consider Columbia City’s status as a non-profit governmental entity.
The FCC staff quoted Columbia City’s appeal in its ruling. The school, noting that other organizations similarly had been fined, told the commission it was acting too broadly. “No effort was made by the bureaus involved and by commission staff to make the slightest factual distinction among the responses of the targeted licensees and their stations; everyone received a $7,000 NAL … [t]his local government school board operation deserves better.”
The FCC replied that its fine was consistent with its policies and that there is no exemption or reduction based on the noncommercial status of a station. Also, where other licensees who successfully appealed for reductions in fines had provided proper documentation to show financial hardship, the FCC said, Columbia City provided none.