Cutting slack on translator fines is for real


Back in 2/12/07, the FCC hit Bible Broadcasting Network with a $1.5K fine for getting the renewal application for K217EY Laramie WY in late – the amount when the application is received after the due date but prior to license expiration, a four-month span. But even though the FCC stands by the penalty and the licensee can certainly afford to pay it, the Commission granted a reduction.

BBN said it filed renewal applications for full power Wyoming station KYFO-FM and associated translators but inadvertently failed to include the Laramie translator. KYFO’s app was timely filed 5/31/05 prior to a 6/1/05 due date and 10/1/05 license expiration date.

BBN realized its error and got the K217EY renewal application in on 7/1/05, a month late but three months prior to expiration.

BBN attempted to old defense that the violation was not willful, a trick that never works. As far as the FCC is concerned, “…violations resulting from inadvertent error are willful violations.” The FCC also turned a deaf ear to requests to cut slack for getting the app in as soon as the error was discovered and taking into account the licensee’s noncommercial status.

But BBN still was given a reduction to $250. Why? The Commission wrote, “However, given the Commission’s recent decisions assessing forfeitures in the amount of $250 against licensees of translator stations for violations…” of this nature, it agreed to knock this fine down 1,250 notches.

RBR-TVBR observation: So there you have it – the fact that the stick is a translator buys monetary penalty breathing room regardless of the financial state of the licensee. At least in this case. If your translator is hit for anything more than $250, we’d have our legal counsel bringing the saga of K217EY Laramie WY to the FCC’s attention in a heartbeat.