There are two ways to get money knocked off of an FCC fine. One is the admirable recognition of the Commission given to a licensee with a commendable record of overall compliance. Then there’s the other, less admirable way – basically, a plea of poverty.
The latter route is the one taken by Vision Latina Broadcasting Inc., licensee of KBPO-AM Port Neches TX in the Beaumont-Port Arthur market.
An FCC agent visited the station12/2/10, and found its studio unstaffed and locked. The agent returned 12/9/10, and found one staff member on the on board. However, the staffer produced a public inspection file that was missing required items. The agent was told that the station’s owner would correct the omissions upon returning from Mexico 12/13/10, but on that date the station’s staff would not even allow the agent to look at the file.
The FCC determined that in addition to public file violations, the station appeared to lack effective management oversight and hit it with a $25K fine — $15K more than a standard public file violation usually draws.
That apparently got Vision Latina’s attention. It attested that it had corrected its staffing and file problems, but also requested a reduction or cancellation of the fine due to lack of ability to pay. It must have provided convincing financial documentation, because the FCC agreed to knock the fine all the way down to $500.