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Missing Paperwork Leads to $25K Fine

Pacific Empire Radio is licensee of five stations in northeast Oregon

Missing public files can be costly — and you don’t get a discount if you offend in bulk.

The Federal Communications Commission denied an appeal by Pacific Empire Radio Corp., licensee of five stations in the towns of La Grande, Baker and Elgin, Ore.

The Enforcement Bureau had handed down a fine to Pacific Empire in the amount of $25,000 for “willfully and repeatedly” violating the rules by failing to retain multiple issues and programs lists in the local public inspection files of each of the stations.

In its Forfeiture Order, the bureau detailed that an agent from the Portland Office inspected the stations’ public inspection files and determined that 12 consecutive quarterly issues/programs lists, from the third quarter of 2008 through the second quarter of 2011, were missing at each of the stations. Pacific Empire submitted a petition for reconsideration of the original ruling, which was denied. It then sought an application for review of the denied reconsideration. In a Nov. 18 memorandum opinion and order, the commission denied that appeal.

In its objection, Pacific Empire cited 15 cases from 2003 in which stations were fined only $3,000 for failing to place issues and programs lists into the public file. However, each of these involved only one station, the FCC wrote in its order.

“This case involves a failure to do so at five stations,” FCC stated. “We thus believe that a substantially higher forfeiture amount is justified here.”