FCC hits Florida broadcaster for a pair of violations


Not only was the EAS equipment inoperable at LSM Radio Partners’ WWWK-FM Islamorada FL, but the licensee failed to have a meaningful staff and management presence in the vicinity of the station’s transmitter. The result was an initial Notice of Apparent Liability for $15K.

The EAS problem began on the basis of a 2/6/09 complaint that the station was not meeting its obligations at its main studio. LSM responded to an FCC inquiry stating that its EAS equipment had been down between 5/15/07 and 2/13/09, the latter date being the day they got it back up and running.

Numerous attempts to inspect the station led to the discovery of the lack of a main studio presence. LSM said it had been party to an LMA with Caribbean Broadcasting Inc., and that CBI had been operating the station from a studio in Homestead FL. But the arrangement fell apart and was using the transmitter site in Rock Harbor FL as the main studio until it could find a new tenant. But of course there was no staff at Rock Harbor during the FCC’s visits.

During the subsequent give and take between LSM and the Commission, nothing turned up that would mitigate LSM’s culpability in the violations. Not even a discount for a prior record of compliance was allowed, due to the prolonged absence of EAS capability uncovered during the investigation of the incident.

LSM was, however, able to demonstrate a lack of financial means to pay the full $15K, and was given a break by the FCC in the form of a $6.5K reduction to $8.5K.