FCC rings up two owners for $28K on EEO charges


A four-station radio cluster in the Medford-Ashland OR market owned by Opus Broadcasting Systems Inc. and a six-station radio cluster in Joplin MO owned by Zimmer Radio Inc. have been flagged by the FCC for equal employment opportunity violations. They have been hit with notices of apparent liability of $20K and $8K respectively.

The Opus stations include KRTA-AM and KEZX-AM, both licensed to Medford, along with KROG-FM Grant’s Pass & KCNA-FM Cave Junction.

Zimmer’s cluster includes four Joplin stations – KZRG-AM, KZYM-AM, KIXQ-FM & KSYN-FM, and two licensed to Webb City – KXDG-FM & KJMK-FM.

In the Opus case, the FCC charged that the station did not apply appropriate EEO procedures during a period stretching from 2003 through 2009 that encompassed hiring for 28 out of 29 possible positions.

FCC said, “For six vacancies, the Licensee relied solely on ‘walk in /mail in’ or other non-public sources, thus failing to recruit for every full-time vacancy… In addition, the Licensee relied solely on Internet websites as its only public recruitment source for seven vacancies, and relied solely on on-air advertisements for 15 vacancies.” It added that record-keeping was not up to snuff.

In addition to the monetary penalty, the Opus received reporting requirements to demonstrate compliance with the rules going forward.

Zimmer’s problems occurred from 4/21/06 through 9/30/07 and involved only six out of 24 hiring opportunities. Of the six, three were walk-ins, and one each came as the result of word-of-mouth, a business referral and an employee referral. The FCC said that on seven openings, the job title was improperly omitted from the station’s 2007 EEO report.

Zimmer was also placed under a reporting requirement.