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FCC Reduces Fine on Successful Bidder

Applicant for new FM had missed a paperwork deadline

The FCC Media Bureau has finalized a filing penalty against the winning bidder of an FM construction permit for Hugo, Colo., reducing the fine to $1,000 and calling the error a “minor delinquency.”

ScarboroughRadio LLC, a winning bidder in Auction 109, failed to file a post-auction Form 2100, Schedule 301 long-form application until a couple of weeks after the deadline last September.

Applications can be dismissed outright in such circumstances, the commission pointed out; but an applicant can establish good cause if “minor, inadvertent” post-auction delinquencies don’t disrupt its auction process or undermine its goal of facilitating rapid implementation of service.

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In issuing a notice of apparent liability in December, the FCC waived the deadline, saying that Scarborough had complied with its other obligations, there was no indication of bad faith and the late filing was a minor violation. That meant Scarborough could go ahead with its plan to add FM service to Hugo.

But the FCC did propose a $3,000 fine in the NAL. Company principal Scott Scarborough then filed a response, noting that he is a first-time auction participant, and that after working with the Media Bureau staff on preparation of the long-form application, “it was his understanding that there was no more to be done, that the filing was complete and that there were no issues regarding late filing.”

The commission now has issued a forfeiture order. It said auction bidders were informed through various means of the rules for the post-auction long-form application; but, it continued, Scarborough replied to its NAL promptly, made its final payment and met the other relevant obligations.

“These facts, combined with the fact that Mr. Scarborough proactively reached out to bureau staff to complete the late-filed application, support Scarborough’s assertion that its late application filing was wholly inadvertent.” For this “minor post-auction delinquency,” the FCC settled on a reduced forfeiture of $1,000.

Scott Scarborough commented to Radio World on the outcome of this case: “I think it would be amazing if there were some ways for NEW radio station owners to not only have a tutorial, but how to clarify submitting required FCC paperwork.  Especially when it is unfamiliar,” he wrote in an email.

“It is easy to be caught off guard. In the case of my NAL, I appreciate the FCC Audio Division lowering their sanction.  Our forthcoming station will serve Hugo, Colo., for the city of license along with Limon and Genoa and portions of Interstate 70 east of Denver.  Later when the FCC accepts our License to Cover and we begin commercial service, I would like to ask RW to report on the unique ways we plan to serve Eastern Colorado.”