Low-power FM operators are taking note of a ruling involving one of their own this week. The Federal Communications Commission fined Power Radio Corp., licensee of KXPW(LP), Georgetown, Texas, $6,000 for airing ads. That’s a no-no, as LPFMs are licensed as non-commercial outlets.
The case goes back to 2003 when the FCC began investigating a complaint that the LPFM had aired underwriting announcements that contained prohibited language and continued to do so after the FCC made its first inquiry.
In March of this year, the commission found the station apparently liable and levied a $20,000 fine. PRC didn’t dispute that its announcements violated the commission’s underwriting rules but said it couldn’t pay and asked that the fine be either reduced or eliminated.
PRC told the FCC it filed for an extension for its 2008 tax return because the president and owner of the station died and its 2009 income has declined. The station also said that that none of the employees who were involved with the ads work at the station now.
Taking action to remedy the situation afterwards doesn’t change the fact that the violation occurred, the commission noted in its decision; however, it acknowledged that PRC’s financial records back up its inability to pay a high fine so the FCC reduced the penalty to $6,000.
PRC has 30 days to pay or the case may be turned over to the Justice Department for collection, said the FCC in its decision.