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School Station Learns Hard Lesson

Public File Rule pertains to all, even small noncoms

College station managers, are your public files current?

Don’t blow this off; failure to keep those files up to date could end up costing your school money and time — and even affect your license.

That’s the moral of an action from the FCC Media Bureau, which entered into a consent decree with Framingham State University.

The school holds the license for student-run noncom educational WDJM(FM) in Framingham, Mass. In seeking to renew its license, it reported on the application that for almost seven years — since previous license renewal — the station had not fully complied with the Public File Rule. Its quarterly issues and programs lists had not been prepared properly during that time.

Under the agreement, the school will institute a compliance plan at the station and will pay a $1,200 civil penalty. And its expected license renewal will be for only four years this time.

Student-run NCE radio stations get something of a break in this regard from the FCC, given their special nature. In cases of first-time violations of certain documentation requirements at student-run NCE radio stations, the commission will give the licensee an opportunity to negotiate such a consent decree instead of issuing a Notice of Apparent Liability.