Toccoa Falls College radio station WXTR-FM in Toccoa Falls GA was hit with a $10K Notice of Apparent Liability for a file fine omission. The Commission took the time to explain why TFC’s pleas for clemency were being rejected when it upgraded the finding to a Forfeiture Order.
TFC said its omission of issues/programs lists was not willful and repeated. The FCC countered that a violation is not willful only if it is beyond the control of the licensee – and said that the act of placing the lists in the file clearly was within the powers of the licensee; and the failure to do so was clearly its fault.
The FCC said the public is harmed by the lack of availability of the lists, and that holds whether a member of the public actually asked to see them or not.
TFC said the fine was too high. The FCC countered that it was entirely appropriate given the lack of 17 quarters worth of issues/program lists, which of course underscores the repeated nature of the violation.
Gaining a reduction due to TFC’s voluntary disclosure of the violation was also rejected, particularly since the disclosure was part of the licensee’s filling out of a required form. But the real FCC point is that for TFC to not disclose the violation would constitute certifying false statements, a violation that could lead to more severe penalties up to license revocation.
Finally, it simply stated that there is no precedent to support making special allowances for noncommercial stations, even student-run stations.
In conclusion, the FCC is demanding the full $10K penalty.