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KRIT Resolves Investigation With FCC, $20,000 Penalty

On-air/off-air Arizona FM seeks return to air

Three strikes do not necessarily mean an out for one licensee in Arizona. But steep fines are in place as a result.

The Farmworker Educational Radio Network, which is licensee of station KRIT(FM) in Parker, Ariz., had been under investigation by the Federal Communications Commission over three alleged violations: an incomplete public file, inaccurate statements regarding the condition of that public file and unauthorized periods of non-operation.

The FCC said its investigation revealed that KRIT’s public file was missing quarterly issues and programs lists during the year 2005 and that the station made inaccurate statements about those files, both of which are violations of the rules, the commission said. Then, in 2013, the FCC found that FERN violated the rules by discontinuing operation of its station without requesting a special temporary authority in a timely manner.

To resolve the issue, FERN entered into a consent decree with the FCC. As part of the consent decree, FERN stipulated that it did indeed violate sections of the FCC rules, and agreed to make a civil penalty payment that amounts to of $20,000.

The commission also ruled that due to the periods of silence, it would only grant the station a renewal application for a two-year term and that the station must follow a compliance plan.

That plan stipulates several requirements, including that FERN log all public affairs programming and compile it properly for the public file, conduct training for all station staff and management on compliance with FCC rules, designate a compliance officer to ensure information provided to the FCC is candid and complete, and conduct annual audits of the station’s public file on for the next three years.