FCC issues fine over missing issue list


In the case of WTSM-FM Woodville FL, the station’s staff was said to be unaware that its public file was supposed to contain an issues/programs list. Once it became aware of the requirement it began compliance, and was able to reconstruct lists going back one quarter, to Q1 2011. But the violation dated back to 2006.

The station is licensed to WJZT Communications LLC. It’s a Class A on 97.9 MHz serving the Tallahassee FL market.

The station turned itself in for the violation when applying for a license renewal. According to the FCC, the licensee stated, “Station staff was unaware that issues-programs reports were to be prepared and placed in the file on a quarterly basis. The station staff has been instructed as to the correct procedure and, to the extent possible, will create prior issues-programs reports for placement in the station’s public inspection file. Station staff were able to recreate the WTSM(FM) issues-programs report for the first quarter of 2011 (the second and third quarter issues-programs reports had already been completed and placed in the public inspection file on time). For the quarters prior to 2011 for which licensee is responsible (that is, from August 21, 2006, when WTSM(FM) was acquired by the current licensee, through 2010), there was not enough information available to prepare issues-programs reports.”

The standard fine for this violation is $10K. The FCC said that although the station had a clean record up to this point, the prolonged duration of this violation prohibited consideration of a reduction for past compliance. However, the FCC stated that the violation was not overly serious and that the station had served the public interest, and therefore granted the license renewal.

RBR-TVBR observation: WTSM’s pain should be every other licensee’s gain – it serves as a wake-up to all licensees to make sure staff is trained, aware of FCC responsibilities and makes compliance a habit. But there never seems to be a shortage of material for another FCC fine story. Our advice to readers is simple – make sure the station we inevitably will be writing about in the future belongs to somebody else.