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Kentucky LPFM Settles With FCC in Underwriting Case

FCC dismisses complaints; station to make $7,000 'voluntary contribution'

The Enforcement Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission and Hazard Community Broadcasting, licensee of noncommercial WLZD(LP), Hazard, Ky., have entered into a consent decree concerning some underwriting announcements the station aired.

The FCC investigated a complaint that the station was airing ads. In documentation released Thursday, neither the exact announcements nor how many aired were specified. The agency said they appeared to exceed the bounds of what’s allowed.

The commission stated that in general, underwriting announcements “may be made for identification purposes only, and should not promote the contributors’ products, services or businesses. Specifically, such announcements may not contain comparative or qualitative descriptions, price information, calls to action or inducements to buy, sell, rent or lease.”

Yet the bureau also said sometimes it’s hard to tell what crosses the line, and asks licensees to use “good faith” judgment.

As part of the agreement between the FCC and Hazard, the broadcaster agreed to set up a multi-level review process for its underwriting announcements and train employees on what’s acceptable under FCC laws. The station will also file regular compliance reports with the commission and make a $7,000 voluntary contribution to the U.S. Treasury.

In exchange, the FCC agreed to drop the investigation and dismiss the complaints. The station airs at 106.1 MHz in Hazard.