Cumulus FM accumulates hefty FCC fine


Here we go again – a broadcast station failed to keep track of what was going into its public file. Or more to the point, what wasn’t. In this case, it was Cumulus Rocker WWIZ-FM, serving the Youngstown OH market.
The station is a Class A on 103.9 licensed to Mercer PA. It calls itself Rock 104.

Its license renewal was granted by the FCC 6/22/07, and since then, it has apparently been remiss in its duty to put quarterly issues/program lists in its public file, making it apparently liable for a $10K fine.

An FCC agent asked the station’s “chief operator and station market manager” to see the file, and it was missing no less than nine of the required lists going back to the 2007 renewal.

The FCC pointed out that the public information file is supposed to include “…a list of programs that have provided the station’s most significant treatment of community issues during the preceding three-month period.”
The Commission explained further, “This list is known as the issues/programs list and must include a brief narrative describing what issues were given significant treatment and the programming that provided this treatment. The description of the programs must include, but shall not be limited to, the time, date, duration, and title of each program in which the issue was treated. Copies of the issues/programs list must be retained in the public inspection file until final action has been taken on the station’s next license renewal application.”

Cumulus has the opportunity to apply for reduction or cancellation of the fine.

RBR-TVBR observation: Licensees find many reasons to apply for reconsideration when hit for a file fine. Often, they will argue unsuccessfully that the infraction was not “willful” or “repeated” (as the esteemed Rocket J. Squirrel of Rocky and Bullwinkle fame would say, “That trick never works!”).

But a licensee generally will not do any protesting at all when it has a major deal the works that requires FCC approval – most such companies would just as soon clear the books, when the infraction is not a major, license-threatening matter. Look for this one to be paid of quickly, quietly and acquiescently.