If at first you don’t get paid, fine, fine again


KHOD(FM) CP Des Moines NM perhaps should be known on a de facto basis as KHOD-FM Raton NM. The Hodson Broadcasting permit was licensed as a Class C in Des Moines on 105.3 MHz; it applied to become a Class A 34 miles away in Raton. The application was never granted, but it moved there anyway.

The FCC said, “No other modification applications were filed and no authorization for program test authority or operational authority has ever been issued by the FCC for KHOD(FM).”

The FCC responded to numerous complaints and found the station operating in Raton on 6/24/08. The next day Hodson was advised to cease broadcasting. But on 7/1/08 it was still operating and was warned to cease again.

By October, the FCC was again getting complaints from local businesses about the station, and by mid-November hit it with a $10K unauthorized operation fine.

It checked back in December, and the station was STILL running; the FCC said on 12/11/08 it “transmitted spurious signals on approximately 103.8 MHz and 106.7 MHz at -38 to -42 dB below KHOD’s fundamental frequency of 105.3 MHz.” Reports of its continued operation persisted into March 2009, and resulted in a second $10K fine.

Hodson could produce no evidence that it had authority to broadcast from Raton. And its attempt to duck the fine on the poverty clause was rejected – the FCC said that the financial condition perhaps warranted a downward reduction in the $20K the FCC hit it with, but that Hodson’s persistent refusal to heed the FCC’s explicit warning to cease broadcasting justified holding the fine at the full amount.

RBR-TVBR observation: We’ve detailed a few stories lately where the FCC commendably went easy on an inadvertent and/or apologetic miscreant. This time, we believe it very correctly threw the book at a licensee that seemingly thumbed its nose at the FCC.