License gone, does fine go too?


A station was hit for a program/issues violation, part of the public file menu of transgressions, and fined by the FCC. Can the fine be ducked by selling the station to somebody else? The station in question is WWII-AM Shiremanstown PA, which was licensed to Hensley Broadcasting Inc. when it committed the public file infraction. But between then and the actual issuance of an NAL for $4K, Hensley sold the station to a third party. It did not dispute the accuracy of the finding against it, but argued that since it was no longer licensee, it could no longer be fined. The FCC wrote, “Commission precedent is clear that ‘liability for violations of Commission rules inures to the licensee regardless of an intervening transfer of control.’” Hensley has been ordered to pay up.

RBR/TVBR observation: We see lots of nice tries to wriggle out of FCC fines, and this is another one for the list. The only problem is that they almost never work.