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Texas AM Fined $7,000 for License and Unauthorized Operation Missteps

FCC said station did not file a timely renewal application and operated without authority

WASHINGTON — An alleged license renewal mistake and unauthorized operation misstep tripped up an AM station in Texas to the tune of a $7,000 fine from Federal Communications Commission.

The Media Bureau found that station KMFR(AM) in Pearsall, Texas, apparently failed to file a timely license renewal application for the station and continued operating the station after its license and special temporary authority had expired.

The FCC said that licensee Rufus Resources LLC should have filed a license application renewal for the station on Sept. 26, 2016, which would have been four months prior to the station’s license expiration date. The licensee instead filed an STA request in February 2017 to remain on the air despite the expiration of its license.

In that STA request, the licensee said it has acquired the station in April 2015, and inadvertently lost sight of the exact date by which a license renewal application would be due.

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But the actual application for renewal was not filed until March 2017, and the licensee did not provide any explanation for why it was late or why it hadn’t been filed when the STA was filed in February 2017. Then, the licensee failed to request an extension on that STA before it expired in September 2017, the FCC said. The station continued to operate after that STA expiration.

The FCC notes that not only did the licensee fail to file a timely license renewal application, it continued operations for more than a month without authorization — and then continued operations again after its STA ran out.

As such, the FCC fined the licensee $3,000 for failing to file a required form and then an additional $4,000 for unauthorized operation.

However, the FCC did not find that any of these actions constitute serious violations. The licensee has 30 days from the date of the order to pay the fine.