The FCC Media Bureau is fining a Michigan school district $17,000 and reprimanding it in connection with its FM station renewal application; but the commission has renewed the license over two objections.
Bloomfield Hills School District had applied to renew noncom WBFH(FM) in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. Superior Communications and RB Schools challenged the district.
The bureau found that the school district did fail to file a license renewal application on time, violated the rules by operating after its authorization had expired and failed to have required documentation in the public inspection file.
An application for renewal should have been filed by June 1, 2004, four months before the expiration date. The application wasn’t filed until mid-October of that year, and more than two weeks after the license had expired, with no application for an STA.
The FCC rejected the station’s explanations for the late filing but said it would not dismiss the application. “In similar circumstances, the commission has accepted license renewal applications filed after the station’s license has expired and found that a forfeiture for late-filing and unauthorized operation, rather than a license cancellation, is the appropriate action in such cases,” the bureau ruled.
RB Schools sought to have the FCC force a non-consensual time-sharing arrangement. Superior Communications claimed, among other arguments, that the station’s certification about documentation in its public file was false.
The public file problems in the case accounted for $10,000 of the total proposed fine. In calculating the rest of the penalty, the FCC said this case is not comparable to “pirate” operations because the station had been previously licensed. Overall the FCC said the station’s violations were not serious ones and there was no pattern of abuse.