Fine reduced on poverty clause


R-S Broadcasting Co., licensee of WCWV-FM Summersville WV, was hit with a $10K public file fine, namely for not having proper issues/program lists in place for the current license period, going back to 2003. In fact, the most recent list was filed in 2002. The company was not able to duck the fine, but did earn a reduction.

R-S did not dispute the fact that the lists were missing, but claimed it was an oversight of new management put in place in 2006. The FCC said that it understood that new management may face many challenges when taking on a new station, but that two years were surely a sufficient amount of time to start getting the lists in the file.

The company also said it did not have enough money to pay the fine, and submitted three years worth of tax returns. The FCC gave them a look, and agreed to reduce the forfeiture to $5K.

RBR-TVBR observation: The key to getting the reduction is tax returns. Many claim inability to pay and leave it at that; others submit operating budgets – these types of pleas almost invariably go nowhere. However, the FCC considers a tax return to be a valid document for this purpose. They are a licensee’s only real chance for fiscal relief in these situations.