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FCC Upholds Penalty Against Shelby’s Ala. Translator Violations

The licensee claimed it did not have the operating income to pay proposed forfeiture

The FCC has upheld a forfeiture against Shelby Broadcast Associates, licensee of an FM translator in Tarrant, Ala.

In January, the Media Bureau had issued a notice of potential forfeiture for $16,500 for an unauthorized transmitting ERP on the translator, failure to file for an STA and false application certifications.

Shelby responded in February. It did not dispute the violations but said that the forfeiture should be cancelled or reduced based on its inability to pay the fine. It cited the size of the fine in contrast to its gross revenue and expenses, indicating that the station has operated at a loss in two of the last three years.

But the commission remained steadfast in its assessment. It said that “due to licensee’s history of noncompliance, including unauthorized operations, and the extended duration of the violations, we find no basis to reduce or cancel the proposed forfeiture and affirm the NAL.
Shelby has a pending sale of the translator to Rivera Communications for $184,000. Rivera is operating W252BE as a relay of WAYE(AM) Birmingham, with a regional Mexican format known as “La Jefa.”

The commission noted the sale price in its response to Shelby and said the forfeiture is just 8.9% of the pending sale price. It said the sale, combined with Shelby’s gross income, demonstrates its ability to pay the forfeiture amount.

(Read the decision.)