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Georgia AM Settles With FCC, Will Pay Fine

Station had argued that finances and language were mitigating factors in rules violations

A Georgia AM station will pay $22,000 and adopt a rules compliance plan as part of a settlement with the FCC.

Hanmi Broadcasting, owner of AM station WPBC in Decatur, signed a consent decree with the Enforcement Bureau. This brings to an end an investigation into allegations that the station had transferred control without authorization and failed to provide access to its public inspection file, maintain required documents in the file or submit ownership reports and contracts to the commission.

The case dates to a complaint filed in 2009. In response the bureau wrote to Hanmi Broadcasting about the allegations, and the station admitted that its actions may have violated the rules, the bureau stated.

Hanmi claimed financial distress as a mitigating factor; its attorney also told the FCC that station President Chang Soo Kim is a native Korean speaker whose English is limited and that the station’s ability to comply with the rules “has been greatly hindered by its principal’s language difficulties and financial constraints in hiring and retaining counsel,” according to the FCC summary.

Under the consent decree, the owner acknowledged that its actions violated commission regulations; it agreed to follow a plan that includes designating a compliance officer, training staff and filing compliance reports for the next three years. It also agreed to the “voluntary contribution” to the U.S. Treasury of $22,000, to be paid in five installments.