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KTCM Licensee Fined for Moving Operations

KTCM Licensee Fined for Moving Operations

The FCC reduced a fine slightly, from $39,000 to $34,000, against Maria Salazar, licensee of KTCM(FM), Kingman Kansas. In 2002, field agents concluded after an inspection that the station had been transmitting from the Latino Boom Nightclub in Wichita – an unauthorized location outside of KTCM’s community of license. The agents determined the main studio had been moved to the nightclub, where the station’s programming was originating from.
Part of the original fine was also for missing tower lights, lack of EAS equipment in the main studio and lack of a public file.
Salazar did not dispute the findings but asked for the penalty to be reduced due to financial hardship. She told the commission she’s a single mother, and the station and a restaurant job support her and a son. The station has lost money every year since she acquired it in 1996, she stated.
Salazar testified she relied “exclusively” on the advice of an engineer Charlie Babbs, now deceased, and moved her main studio to the nightclub to avoid interference problems. She said Babbs did not tell her it was illegal to operate from an unauthorized site.
The commission stated that a licensee’s responsibility to know its rules is not “lessened, mitigated or excused because the licensee relied upon the erroneous advice of an employee or independent contractor.”
The agency cut the fine slightly due to Salazar’s financial situation. She has 30 days to pay.