Gross trumps profit when seeking FCC fine reductions


A station hit with a $7K fine for a late license renewal asked for a reduction based on inability to pay. The owner of the station noted that taking out a loan would be necessary to repay the fine at the small family-owned station, and that it made a profit in only one out of three years for which financial results were submitted. The FCC looked instead at gross income and said $7K was reasonable, but did award a small reduction for past compliance.

The station was WFHK(AM) Pell City AL, licensed to Stocks Broadcasting Inc.

Owner Adam Stocks submitted financials for three years, 2004-2006, showing a slight profit of about $2.6K in 2006 and losses the other two years.

But the FCC saw gross revenues hovering around the $180K range all three years. It noted that the fine amounted to 3.9% of average gross and held that a fine as high as 7.9% would be fair.

However, the late filing was the first blemish on the station’s record, and on that count, the FCC reduced the fine to $5.6K.