North County Broadcasting is not getting off the hook for failing EAS equipment used for its KFSD-AM Escondido CA, but it did get a break that was incorporated into the original FCC notice of apparent liability, and managed another break on review.
The station shared EAS equipment with co-located KCEO-AM, but the nature of the equipment failure caused KFSD only to not air required weekly tests of the system.
Apparently the KFSD failures took hold gradually; the engineer believed them to be intermittent at first, and when the failure became total, he did report the matter to the FCC and attempted to diagnose the problem. Eventually it was fixed.
The $8K fine was reduced to $6K at the NAL stage, in recognition of the engineer’s initiative and good-faith attempt to repair the problem.
NCB tried to get out of the $6K fine however, suggesting that the FCC did not properly take into account the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement and Fairness Act of 1996, under which it was to consider the effect of its fine on a smaller entity. NCB also suggested a reduction was in order due to its overall record of compliance with FCC regulations.
The FCC responded that it has long since made sure it is in compliance with SBREF, and noted that it regularly considers a licensee’s ability to pay when issuing forfeitures. It said it has no evidence of any kind that NCB is unable to pay the $6K.
However, the FCC did agree that the station had a clean record, and gave it a discount of $1.2K, bringing the final assessment to $4.8K.