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Oregon College Station Wins Reduction in Public File Fine

However FCC says Tennessee station remains on the hook for late renewal

In more broadcast fine rulings out this week, the FCC upheld but eased a fine against Linfield College, licensee of KSLC(FM), McMinnville, Ore.

In a separate case it did not cut the penalty for Faith Trinity Assemblies, licensee of WZYZ(FM), Spencer, Tenn.

The commission upheld an earlier fine against KSLC for public file violations but knocked off $2,000, bringing its net fine to $8,000.

In a license renewal application for 2009, Linfield College acknowledged that issues/program lists were missing for 1999 through 2001. A faculty advisor had left the station in that timeframe, according to the college, which told the commission it hired a new faculty advisor for KSLC and the public file has been complete since 2002.

Linfield argued the $10,000 fine should be cancelled or reduced because KSLC has a good compliance record. It was too late to penalize the station, argued KSLC, because a new license term had begun and any infraction would have been tied to the previous license term. The FCC termed this timing argument “novel” but did confirm the station’s good history and so it cut the fine by 20%. The station has 30 days to pay.

In the WZYZ case, the agency rejected the station’s plea to reconsider a $1,500 fine for filing its renewal application late. In 2007, the FCC levied the original fine, saying Faith Trinity’s renewal application was due April 1, 2004, four months before its license would expire, on Aug. 1, 2004. Faith Trinity did not file the application until July 21, with no explanation, according to the FCC.

In March 2007, Faith Trinity asked for the fine to be cancelled, arguing that it hadn’t been familiar with the agency’s electronic filing system; it also said its non-profit status should be taken into consideration. The FCC rejected both arguments in 2010; the licensee asked, again, that the fine be dropped, using the same arguments, as well as stating that the fine would cause WZYZ financial hardship.

The commission said this week it considers a Petition for Reconsideration only when the applicant shows the agency made a mistake in its original decision, or raises changed circumstances or additional facts not known before. The FCC said the station also failed to prove financial hardship.

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