If you reach a deal with the FCC to end an enforcement action, be prepared to live up to the agreement.
That’s the cautionary tale in the case of WEGA(AM), in Vega Baja, Puerto Rico, which is now facing a $25,000 fine.
In 2008, the FCC and the station reached an agreement that ended an investigation into possible violations regarding tower fencing, public inspection file requirements, and operating with an unauthorized antenna pattern. The commission indicated it was prepared to levy a $15,000 fine against WEGA.
However the station and the FCC reached a deal. The FCC would end the investigation if Licensee A Radio agreed to voluntary contribute $8,000 to the U.S. Treasury in June 2008 and submit a compliance report to the commission by May 2010 certifying that it was living up to the agreement.
Now however, the Enforcement Bureau says A Radio tried to make the payment with a check that was rejected by the bank for “insufficient funds” and had not submitted its compliance report as of May 2010.
The FCC said this week that violating such an agreement is “particularly serious,” and now says Radio A is apparently liable for a $25,000 penalty. The broadcaster has 30 days to explain why the penalty should be reduced or cancelled, or pay the amount.