Encino Broadcasting’s three Austin TX area AM stations were operating as pirates for a brief period of 2013, due to the failure to timely file for license renewals. EB was able to wrangle a reduced fine at the time, and now it’s entered into a consent decree turning the fine into an even smaller contribution.
The stations are KELG-AM Manor TX, KOKE-AM Pflugerville TX and KTXZ-AM West Lake Hills TX.
License renewal applications are due precisely four months prior to the actual expiration date. If they are received by the FCC between the due date and expiration, they are late. If they are received after expiration, they are late, the station essentially ceases to exist legally and if they are still on the air, it’s unauthorized operation.
At the time of violation, Encino was given some consideration for getting on the stick promptly, operating unlicensed for only about two weeks before addressing the matter. However, even with a hefty discount, it was still liable for a fine of $6K per station, or $18K.
Encino has been pleading poverty in citing its inability to come up with that much money. The FCC said the reduction was warranted in light of financial information supplied by Encino, in particular its tax returns.
The FCC has further decided to conserve its resources and discontinue its pursuit of this matter, and agreed to enter into a consent decree.
Under its terms, Encino agrees that it violated the rules as charged. The FCC has waived the $18K, and instead, Encino will make a $2K contribution to the US Treasury.
RBR-TVBR observation: If our memory serves, when the Treasury comes into money in this fashion, it is used to defray the national debt. We can’t pinpoint a number, since it’s a moving target, but when we checked a moment ago, it was $17,764,182,178,452.50.
Only $17,764,182,176,652.50 to go!