FCC puts WOAP on the ropes


Birach Broadcasting’s WOAP-AM Owosso MI is in the process of being sold, and it is also being processed by the FCC for staying on air after sunset.

The daytimer attracted a complaint from an individual who heard it broadcasting between 9PM and 11PM on 10/21/10 – according to the FCC, at that time of the year it was supposed to go silent at 6PM.

An FCC agent heard the station on air after sunset 10/26/10, noting at least that the station had powered down. But it had no authority to be broadcasting at all.

According to the FCC, the chief operator at the station believed the station had post-sunset operating authority, and further believed that it held a CP for night time service, leading to the further belief that it could operate at night without causing any undue interference.

The FCC looked at its records. The station did receive a PSSA, on 2/28/07. And lost it shortly thereafter, on 3/7/07. It also held a CP at one time to greatly increase its power, to 50 kW-D and 4.5 kW-N, but never acted on it.

The upshot is a $4K fine for operating at excess power.

WOAP, which is considered to be part of the Flint MI market, is being sold along with WMJH-AM Rockford, in the Grand Rapids MI market. Cano’s Broadcasting has agreed to pay $1.1M in a seller-paper deal that was filed with the FCC 4/11/12.FCC

RBR-TVBR observation: We remain amazed that a minor omission of a piece of paperwork which nobody cares about or wants to see, and it can cost you a $10K fine. Meanwhile, operating a day-time AM at night – essentially becoming a spectrum pirate under cover of darkness – only costs $4K. Something just doesn’t seem right about that.

It’s kind of like getting fined $4.00 for absent-mindedly walking away from the counter at some burger joint without paying for your sandwich, and $10.00 for not taking the receipt.