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Main Studio Staff Violation Costs Steckline

Licensee of KYUL, Scott City, Kan., on the hook for $20,000

A $20,000 proposed fine against Steckline Communications has progressed to a Forfeiture Order.

The penalties stem from a July 2012 inspection of KYUL(AM), Scott City, Kan., when agents cited station owner Steckline for failing to operate a fully-staffed main studio as well as maintain and make available a complete public inspection file. In fact, agents couldn’t find the main studio; they did locate the public inspection file at an insurance agency in Scott City.

The station’s main studio had been unstaffed since April 2011.

Steckline didn’t deny the violations, but told the commission the station serves a small market and fully staffing a main studio would put the company at a competitive disadvantage.

The FCC found that argument “unpersuasive,” noting in its decision that Steckline didn’t just fail to have a “meaningful” staff presence at the main studio, it had no staff there for more than a year. The Enforcement Bureau notes that while Steckline applied for a main studio waiver after the inspection, the Media Bureau denied it, reasoning that Steckline’s decision was based more on efficiencies of using an existing staff and studio in Garden City, Kan.

Steckline also failed to provide documentation to back-up its claims that it would face financial hardship by paying the penalties, according to the agency.

The Enforcement Bureau didn’t buy any of Steckline’s arguments and gave the licensee 30 days to pay.

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