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UNM, FCC Agree to End Underwriting Case

Commission was probing allegations of improper underwriting announcements

The University of New Mexico and the FCC have decided to end litigation over possible violations regarding underwriting announcements.

The school is the licensee of KUNM(FM), Albuquerque and its repeaters which are all in the state: KBOM(FM), Socorro, KRRT(FM), Arroyo Seco, KRRE(FM), Las Vegas and KRAR(FM), Española.

The case stems from 2008 when the commission received a complaint, complete with a recording, alleging the station aired underwriting announcements that included calls to action and promoted for-profit entities. Responding to several letters from the commission, the university told the agency the station may have aired underwriting announcements using the word “free” in connection with a product offered by a for-profit entity in exchange for a fee. If so, that would make it an ad, which noncommercial stations are not allowed to air.

To save time and expense, the FCC and the university have reached an agreement. The university admits no guilt and agrees to make a “voluntary” payment to the U.S. Treasury of $7,500. The licensee also agrees to a three-year compliance and training program.

The FCC, in turn, stops the investigation.