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Puerto Rico Broadcaster Sees Fine Balloon to $25,000

FCC says ‘A Radio’ disregarded consent decree

The FCC has upheld an earlier fine and has now issued a $25,000 Forfeiture Order against “A Radio Company” for violating an Enforcement Bureau order.

In 2011, the Enforcement Bureau’s San Juan office proposed the $25,000 penalty against the broadcaster for not complying with an order and consent decree and making a voluntary $8,000 contribution to the U.S. Treasury.

The agreement was made in 2008 to end an investigation into possible violations by WEGA(AM), Vega Baja, Puerto Rico, regarding antenna tower fencing, public inspection file requirements and operating with an unauthorized antenna pattern.

The original order and consent decree ended a proceeding for a $15,000 fine.

A Radio acknowledged the violations, but said it couldn’t afford to pay because its most of its owner’s business had closed, except for A Radio, and the owner declared bankruptcy. A Radio told the FCC it had “overwhelming debt and almost nonexistent cash.”

The broadcaster still has not paid the fine, according to the commission.

The commission this week is unmoved and says it expects parties to honor orders and consent decrees. The fact that A Radio did not, said the commission, demonstrates bad faith and a complete disregard for the agency’s rules.

Nothing on the record warrants leniency and that’s why the FCC is pressing forward with the $25,000 penalty which is due within 30 days.