Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman

FCC Enforcement Monitor — FCC limits licence renewal to two years and assesses $4,000 fine; and more

By Scott R Flick and Carly A Deckelboim

In reviewing the licence renewal application for a Meridian, Texas, radio station, the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) Media Bureau proposed a $4,000 (£2,400) fine for public inspection file violations. It also granted the station’s licence renewal application, but only for a period of two years (rather than the normal eight), based upon the station’s extended periods of silence during the prior licence term.

Section 73.3526 of the FCC’s rules requires licensees to maintain information about station operations in the station’s public inspection file so the public can obtain ‘timely information about the station at regular intervals’. In its licence renewal application, the station indicated that it could not locate a number of its quarterly issues-programmes lists. The base forfeiture amount for public inspection file violations is $10,000, but the FCC has authority to adjust that amount up or down based on a licensee’s circumstances. Here, the FCC noted that ‘the violations were extensive, occurring over a period of nearly two years and involving at least six issues/programmes lists’. Despite this, the FCC ultimately imposed a forfeiture amount of only $4,000 since the violations were not ‘evidence of a pattern of abuse’…

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