College station fined for unapproved vacation


For almost a year, Bethany College’s WVBC-FM in Bethany WV was off the air. However, the rules say that any hiatus longer than 30 days requires FCC approval. That the station did not have, and there was another problem.

The station left the air on 10/12/10 and didn’t return until 9/28/11. It didn’t ask for permission to do this, nor did it explain why it was off air or failed to get permission.

The fine for that omission is $5K.

The licensee also failed to apply for its new license on time. As it turned out, Bethany College got the station back on the air just days before its 10/1/11 expiration, and only filed for renewal on 9/30/11, one day before expiration. That is too late – the renewal application is due four months ahead of expiration. The fine for that one was $1.5K.

The FCC did not believe the station’s violations were “serious violations,” indicative of an “…exceedingly careless, inept and negligent” operation, so it did renew the license. And charged the licensee a total fine of $6.5K.

Bethany is in the narrow strip of land that makes up the northern part of the state and separates Pennsylvania and Ohio. It’s not far from Steubenville OH.