Public File Faux Pas Could Cost A Bay Area Player


If you don’t think the FCC is serious about the placement of required public file documents in a radio or TV station’s electronic public file, think again.

A multicultural TV station in one of the nation’s biggest markets could be held liable for a $20,000 forfeiture from the FCC.

The Minority Television Project, operator of noncommercial KMTP-33 in San Francisco, could be on the hook for the fine for “apparently willfully and/or repeatedly violating a trio of rule sections tied to the Commission’s e-pif rules.

KMTP, which airs an array of multicultural programming from such sources as German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle and Italy’s national RAI, was also cited for failing to disclose its failure to upload required public file documents in a timely manner its license renewal application, and for not maintaining the accuracy of a pending application.

On January 31, 2014, MTP filed the station’s license renewal application.  Shortly after filing, an FCC staff review of KMTP’s e-pif revealed that the licensee had failed to timely place in its e-pif copies of its donor lists for the entire prior license term and TV issues/programs lists from Q1 2007 through Q1 2016.  After being contacted by Media Division staff,  MTP uploaded all missing TV issues/programs lists, in December 2015.

But, in a May 2016 follow-up review, Division staff discovered that MTP had failed to upload its TV issues/program list for Q1 2016 and also failed to place a copy of copies of its most recent donor lists into KMTP’s e-pif.

This led to another request from the FCC’s Media Bureau that all missing public file documents be uploaded to the station’s e-pif and an amendment to its license renewal application be filed disclosing its public file violations.

The Licensee complied with these staff requests by uploading missing public file documents in May 2016.  Then, on June 6, 2016, MTP amended its license renewal application, stating that while copies of its TV issues/programs lists were not uploaded to its e-pif in a timely manner, “all lists were prepared and placed in the stations physical public file in a timely manner and were available for inspection by the public as required.”

The Media Bureau then checked in again on KMTP, and there were still problems: The licensee failed to timely upload copies of its quarterly TV issues/programs lists for Q2, Q3 and Q4 2016; MTP filed its Q2, Q3 and Q4 2016 TV issues/programs lists three months and six days; six days; and ten days late, respectively. It has not provided any explanation in its pending license renewal application for these continued violations.

Barbara Kreisman, Video Division Chief of the Media Bureau, explained in the Notice of Apparent Liability issued to MTP that a proposed forfeiture in the amount of $14,000 for the station’s apparent public file violations is warranted, “especially in light of the continued nature of the licensee’s violations by failing to upload copies of its TV issues/program lists for all of 2016 even after having been required to correct the exact same public file violation.”

She didn’t stop there.

“We also find a proposed forfeiture in the amount of $3,000 is warranted for the licensee’s failure to disclose its violations in its license renewal application until requested by staff to do so, and an additional $3,000 for the licensee’s failure to subsequently maintain the accuracy of its license renewal application.”

MTP has 30 days to seek a reduction or cancellation of the NAL, or pay the forfeiture.