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LPFM Admits It Aired Ads

WQAZ licensee Syner Foundation to pay civil penalty of $16,000

The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau and a low-power FM licensee have reached an agreement that ends an investigation into whether WQAZ(LP), Edmond, W. Va., crossed over the line and aired ads.

Acting on “multiple” complaints that the station was airing actual ads, not underwriting announcements, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau began investigating WQAZ in 2010, according to the consent decree.

Licensee the Syner Foundation admitted the station aired spots between August to October 2010 that went beyond underwriting announcements because the content promoted products, services or businesses of its financial contributors. The announcements also contained qualitative descriptions and comparative language, pricing information and calls to action. LPFMs and noncommercial radio and television stations are prohibited from airing ads.

Syner will pay a civil penalty of $16,000 in quarterly installments. The licensee will also implement a three-year compliance plan, which includes instituting a training program and supplying regular reports to the commission.

In exchange, the agency ends its investigation into the LPFM.