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Operating Outside FCC Authority Leads to Forfeiture for FM Station

Forfeiture was reduced by $1,600, however, since licensee had no history of prior violations

It’s important that radio stations operate within the perimeter to which they are assigned. Not doing so can lead to costly forfeitures.

That looks to be the case for Wendolynn Tellez, licensee of station KSAG(FM) in Pearsall, Texas, who the Federal Communications Commission said allegedly violated commission rules by operating the station at a variance from its licensed parameters without FCC authority.

The FCC said there were two alleged violations in this case. In one, the station operated after a special temporary authority grant had expired; in the second instance, the station failed to submit a covering license application and instead operated with facilities specified in a construction permit granted for a minor modification.

[Read: Texas AM Fined $7,000 for License and Unauthorized Operation Missteps]

The initial Notice of Apparent Liability was for $8,000. Tellez responded soon after to request the commission reduce or cancel the proposed forfeiture since she has no history of prior violations.

The FCC agreed. While the agency did not find that cancellation was appropriate, it did agree that her history of compliance warranted a forfeiture reduction, and so instead imposed a penalty of $6,400 for the infraction.

Upon the conclusion of the forfeiture proceeding, the FCC will then decide whether to grant the station’s pending renewal application — although there seems to be no other issues that would stymie that grant.

In addition to paying the fine, Tellez must place a copy of the forfeiture order in the station’s public inspection file.

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