This is an incomplete list of recentactions the FCC has taken against student and LPFM stations. The intent of this listing of violations is NOT to say that any of the stations mentioned are bad or even guilty, rather to provide stations with a list of violations that have been acted upon by the FCC so that stations may learn from these actions and take steps to avoid being subject to the same. CBI strongly recommends that at a minimum, stations conduct semi-annual reviews of the FCC self-inspection checklist (FM). LPFM here. In addition most, if not every state, has a chapter of the Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) which participates in the alternative inspection program which will, for a fee, inspect your station and let you know what an FCC inspector would find deficient. If you can’t find the local chapter, contact your State Broadcasting Association. If you pass the alternative inspection, you will receive a pass on routine inspections! This list is incomplete and CBI wants to warn stations that the most common violations that are acted upon by the FCC are due to public file violations and EAS violations. The next most common problem we see with student stations is a failure to submit license renewal applications in a timely manner.
June 9, 2015. WIUV(FM) enters consent decree under William Penn for Public File violations (73.3527).
January 9, 2015. WDJM-FM licensed to Framingham State University pays $1,200 under a consent decree for problems related to its public file for issues related to its quarterly issues and programs list (under William Penn). The station also has a shorter than usual license renewal to insure compliance with the terms of the consent decree.
December 16, 2014. Station pays $1,000 under the May 2013 Policy Statement under William Penn for first time violations. The violation? Quarterly issues and programs list. Read the order and consent decree.
August 13, 2014 WITC pays $1,000 under the May 2013 Policy Statement under William Penn for first time violations. The violation? Quarterly issues and programs lists for the fourth quarter of 2007 through the fourth quarter of 2009 were not placed in the Station’s public inspection file in a timely manner.
April 23, 2014 KRVH fined $1,500 for filing its license renewal application after the deadline.
April 17, 2014, WTXR Toccoa Falls College. A consent decree to follow the May 2013 Policy Statement under William Penn. The violation? Failure to maintain the issues/programs section of the public file.
April 16, 2014. WAEX Trine University. The Commission again states that the inability of the station pay will not be considered for student stations licensed to the school. The licensee’s ability to pay is what will be considered.
March 11, 2014 KWRR fined $1,000 for public file by failing to retain all required documentation in the Station’s public inspection file. The station self-reported on its license renewal that that all of the requisite issues/programs lists – except for one from 2012 and one from 2013 – were timely generated and timely placed in the Station’s public inspection file, although they were apparently later stolen from the Station’s studio by former council
members. Therefore, the proposed forfeiture was reduced from the base amount of $10,000 to $1,000.
February 5, 2014. WZRD – A consent decree to follow the May 2013 Policy Statement under William Penn. The violation? Missing issues/programs lists.
August 16, 2013 University of New Mexico. $7,500 consent decree for using “free” in underwriting announcement on five stations owned by the licensee.
May 13, 2013 – FCC “POLICY STATEMENT AND ORDER“. KIGC. The FCC issues an Order which for the first time creates a policy of leniency for student stations. This is a very limited leniency policy, but is something that is well overdue. Separately, the FCC and William Penn University entered into a consent decree which required, among other things, a $2,500 “voluntary contribution” to the United States Treasury. Read more here. Commlawblog offers its thoughts. Broadcastlawblog (who represented KIGC) offers thoughts here.
April 22, 2013 WOBO(FM), Fined $3,000 for airing commercials, but this is much more interesting than just that topic as the MO&O touches on other issues, such as tobacco, PSAs, payola and more.
March 7, 2013 KCYP-LP fined for $1,750 for not having proper EAS equipment installed. The fine was reduced from the original NAL of $10,000. Please note that the limited ability to pay lies with the licensee (usually the university and not just the station – see WTXR and note the potential implications for class D stations and translators).
September 4, 2012 WDCE (University of Richmond) fined for lack of EAS records.
May 2, 2012 WTXR Toccoa Falls College – Failure to maintain the public file cost $10,000 (see the NAL). Important note about the size of the fine. The FCC stated that it did not find ” support for the claim that student run noncommercial educational (“NCE”) stations should be assessed reduced forfeitures relative to other licensees. We reject the Licensee’s argument that its forfeiture should be cancelled or reduced because of its NCE status. The Bureau likewise has no precedent for exempting a station from liability by virtue of being student run. Rather, licensees are liable for the omissions of those they choose to operate the station.Where student-run stations have had forfeitures reduced, we have done so for reasons other than their NCE status or operation by students.”
July 25, 2012 WPRK (Rollins College) Was issued a NAL in July of 2012 for an incomplete public inspection file.
June 22, 2012 WVBC (Bethany College) was issued a fine for $6,500 in June of 2012 for a failure to file license renewal on-time among other issues. Since then, WBVC appears to have been sold to a public broadcasting entity. Was the failure a sign of things to come and/or a reason to sell the station?
May 15, 2012 WKCR (Columbia University) was issued a NAL for $10,000 for public file violations.
WSBU (St. Bonaventure University) was issued a fine of $7,000 in February of 2012 for “failing to timely file license renewal applications and engaging in unauthorized operation of the Station”.
WRLE-LP (non-student) was issued a NAL of $12,000 in September of 2011 for “failingto operate with an FCC (“Federal Communications Commission”) certified transmitter.”
This is not an all inclusive list. Anyone wishing to submit additional cases or updates and or corrections is invited to do so. The point of this listing is to be instructive. Comments should be sent to the CBI Executive Director.