Do you think the FCC is still serious about public file maintenance? Sage Broadcasting has a low power television station serving up MyNetworkTV to the citizens of Abilene and environs, aided and abetted by a network of five low power translators. One of them, KIDV-LP Albany TX, has just been hit with a $20K fine for various file infractions. The upshot of the matter is that Sage thought it need only maintain certain in formation in the public file at its Class A translators, KIDB-CA Sweetwater TX (in other words, a station with a –CA suffix rather than an –LP suffix). Another Sage station, full-power KIDY-TV San Angelo TX, received an admonishment – its infraction, which was shared by KIDV-LP, was maintaining a list of issues facing the community it serves, but omitting a list of programs aired that addressed these issues.
KIDV-LP was hit for failure to have its children’s programming detailed, for failing to publicize the location of its children’s info, and – by its own admission — for going over the commercial time limits during children’s programming on five occasions. Sage’s candor and admission of human error were not enough to convince the FCC to forego the fines, which amounted to $15K for the lack of and failure to publicize the existence of children’s programming information in the files, and $5K for the commercial overages.
RBR/TVBR observation: The FCC noted that it could have made the fine even higher – we’d say it’s plenty high enough to get one’s attention. Having the book not only thrown at you, but hitting you squarely in the wallet, will do that. Only scant credit seemingly was given for exhibiting exemplary candor and, well, for being just little.
Unless you are civic-minded enough to deliberately commit regulatory violations in order to help defray the national debt (and we don’t recommend this as repeated violations may put your license in jeopardy), we suggest you allow this example to get your attention as well. Make sure filling your file is not an afterthought; that a specific employee has ultimate responsibility for this task; and that the specific employee has adequate and knowledgeable back up.