AM broadcaster Roger Hoppe II has settled things up with the Media Bureau.
Hoppe, licensee of KLIM in Limon, Colo., has entered into a consent decree with the Federal Communications Commission. It results in him paying a reduced $1,500 penalty and acknowledging that his station had been silent at times without permission, in violation of the Minimum Operation Rule. The FCC in turn drops its investigation. This outcome will enable Hoppe to proceed with his sale of KLIM to Catholic Radio Network.
This legal case is the one that Audio Division Chief Peter Doyle used as a launching point last month for a written admonishment to the industry not to allow precious radio spectrum to sit fallow. Doyle chastised the practice of some licensees who turn silent stations back on briefly — for as little as a day — to avoid otherwise losing a license after 12 months of silence (read that story).
In this specific case, several silent periods occurred between 2009 and 2014, including one lasting almost a year. As we reported in August, the FCC said Hoppe had not requested special temporary authority and issued him a notice of apparent liability for $5,000. He subsequently asked for a reduction in penalty based on financial hardship.
According to the language of the consent decree, the two sides agreed that any proceeding would be costly and time-consuming.
Once the $1,500 penalty is paid and barring any other unexpected issues, the Media Bureau said it will renew the license and approve the Assignment Application to Catholic Radio Network, which earlier had been approved but then rescinded.