Anatomy of a file fine


How often does it happen this way: A key broadcast employee leaves, an employee who kept the station’s public file properly nourished. Nobody picks up the ball. The result: a hefty FCC fine. In the case of Mapleton’s KXDZ(FM) Templeton CA, serving the San Luis Obispo market, there was no mercy to be found due to a prior offense on the same charges.

The FCC reported, “The Market Manager agreed that the documents were missing from the file and indicated that the period for which the issues/programs lists were missing appeared to coincide with the departure of the station employee who had previously maintained the lists.”

The fine for a file violation is $10K. The FCC will often grant a reduction to a station that has had a clean record before the current violation. In the case of KXDZ, unfortunately, it was rung up on the exact same violation in the prior licensing term. Its current term dates back to 11/29/05.

RBR-TVBR observation: Compliance with FCC rules and regulations is an existential matter. Stations really should do more than make sure an exiting employee with FCC responsibilities is promptly replaced – it should make sure that there are two or more employees up on the task at all times.