FCC gives noncom a book for holidays


Unfortunately, the FCC threw the book, however. Attempts by the Alaska Educational Radio System Inc. to move KWMD-FM Kasilof AK to a new channel and city of license were rebuffed, and it was also hit with a fine for unauthorized operation.

The station was granted a license to cover 10/20/03. Running into tower site problems, it began applying for a series of STAs to remain silent, along with requests for modifications. A granted STA expired 1/26/06, and no others were ever requested, which according to AERS was an accidental oversight.

It began applying for city of license changes in 2007 for KWMD and two other stations. In KWMD’s case, it wanted to take it to Ridgeway AK, moving from 90.5 MHz to 90.7 MHz. The applications, mutually contingent, were denied for a number of reasons.

Apparently AERS began operating the station from Ridgeway regardless of not obtaining permission, because in requesting that the CP for KWMD be reconsidered, it suggested that the FCC had erroneously compared the CP request to the old Kasilof license and not the temporary facility AERS was already running in Ridgeway.

In fact, it finally got around to asking for an STA to operate – not from Kasilof but from Ridgeway — in May of 2008.

The FCC had a lot of problems to list in hitting the station with the $10K fine. It wrote, “Recent filings indicate that AERS has not operated KWMD(FM) in accordance with the Rules and the Act since the September 2005 STA expired on January 26, 2006. Nevertheless, despite the absence of STA or any other authority, the Petition contains multiple admissions of continued operation without authorization at Ridgeway. First, it admits that, due to ‘an inadvertent oversight,’ AERS failed to seek STA renewals after 2006; second, it reveals that KWMD(FM) has been operating from the Ridgeway tower ‘for years’ and third, it states that filing the COL Applications was an attempt to ‘bring an existing operation into compliance with the rules.’ Finally, the May 2008 STA Request indicates that AERS decided, despite the COL Applications’ dismissal, to continue broadcasting KWMD(FM) from Ridgeway.”

In addition to paying the fine, AERS must begin operating KWMD from Kasiloff as licensed or apply for another STA to remain silent while it works toward restoring service.