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Yes, You Do Need Issues-Programs Reports

Florida station faces $10,000 fine for ‘extensive’ public file violations

A Florida FM faces a $10,000 fine, though its path to license renewal appears clear.

The Audio Division of the FCC Media Bureau has issued a notice of apparent liability against WJZT Communications, the owner of WTSM(FM) in Woodville, Fla. The case involves public file documentation, and is another of those instances in which a station truthfully answered “No” on license renewal Form 303-S when asked if documentation had been placed in its inspection file at the appropriate times.

The station explained that its staff had been unaware that issues-programs reports were to be prepared and placed in the file on a quarterly basis. It said employees subsequently had been instructed and that it was able to recreate at least some prior issues-programs reports.

As it has in other cases, the FCC responded that although the owner did self-report the violation, it did so only when asked on a license renewal application that compelled disclosure.

“Moreover, the violations were extensive, occurring over a period of more than four years — from the last quarter of 2006 through the first quarter of 2011, nearly the entire term of licensee’s ownership of the station — and involving at least 18 issues/programs lists.”

The commission said the station has a history of compliance but that the “extensive” violations discouraged it from proposing a smaller fine.

But the FCC also said the offenses do not constitute “serious violations” warranting a hearing, nor suggest a pattern of abuse. It plans to grant license renewal once the forfeiture proceeding is concluded, assuming there are no other problems.

The station has the usual 30 days to pay or appeal.