File under presumptuous


The station is small – so small that it thought it was exempt from maintaining program/issues lists in its public file. The FCC thinks different. The station is KDWG-FM in Dillon MT, licensed to the University of Montana-Western. Apparently the station only recently took the question of exemption to counsel, finding out that counsel agreed with the FCC. The upshot is a $9K fine for three years worth of missing lists. The station’s plea to have the fine reduced also fell on deaf ears. It supplied financials showing an annual budget averaging about $45K generated from the student activity fund. The FCC, which usually wants to see tax returns when deciding a poverty claim, said it had no basis upon wish to issue a reduction or cancellation, said the fine sticks too.

RBR/TVBR observation: What kind of issues was this station addressing, really? Stale candy bars in the machine behind the student union? Does it really serve the public interest to extract a fifth of the station’s budget – generated from student funds – as a demonstration of what a tough cop the FCC can be? The station certainly went above and beyond the regulations in granting itself exempt status, but surely a simple admonishment would suffice in this very special case.