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Sponsor ID Issues Mean $185,000 Penalty for Maverick

Decision paves the way for station sale

The FCC and Maverick Media of Rockford License have resolved allegations that the company’s AM station and an FM translator violated the sponsorship ID rules. The deal means a planned station sale can go through.

The case stems from July 2010, when the agency’s Enforcement Bureau responded to a complaint filed that alleged that WNTA(AM), Rockford, Ill., aired the “Stateline Showcase,” daily talk show in exchange for money or other valuable considerations.

The FCC says the station aired the show without disclosing through required sponsorship announcements that the “guests” featured on the show paid Maverick to appear and promote their products and services. Maverick confirmed it ran the program without sponsor IDs and guests were paid to sponsor the show. The program no longer airs.

In April 2013, Maverick filed paperwork to sell the station and its associated FM translator, W263BJ, Loves Park, Ill., to Mid-Way Radio. Mid-way has been operating both under a time brokerage agreement since May 2013.

The Enforcement Bureau concluded Maverick failed to air the required sponsor ID announcements so Maverick, Mid-Way and the FCC all entered into a Consent Decree to end the investigation, resolve the case and allow the sale to station proceed, according to the agency.

Maverick will make a “voluntary” contribution of $185,000 to the U.S. Treasury within 30 days and Mid-Way agreed to implement a three-year compliance plan. Once the sale goes through, Maverick exits the radio business. If the sale doesn’t go through, Maverick will implement the compliance plan.