Licensee off the hook for $10K in FCC fines


FCCAn AM-FM combo in Greenville PA was found to have committed several violations to the FCC rules, and racked up a total of $18K in fines. But in the end it won’t have to pay that much, due only to its inability to pay that much.

The stations are WGRP-AM and WEXC-FM, and aural studio transmitter link WQGW238 was also in the regulatory mix.

The stations, in the Youngstown-Warren OH area, were owned by Beacon Broadcasting at the time of the infractions. They were later sold, with WLOA-AM, to Educational Media Foundation for $225K in a deal accepted for filing at the FCC 10/1/10. The two AMs were then sold a second time, to VCI Radio in a 7/21/11 deal, for $50K.

But all the wheeling and dealing doesn’t get Beacon off the hook for a lack of issues/program lists in its public file, for operating WGRP with too much power at night and for operating the STL on an incorrect frequency.

Beacon only contested the third violation, offering testimony from a contract engineer that WQGW238 was in fact operating properly, but the FCC said that was not enough to counter the readings and observations of its own agent to the contrary.

However, lack of funds prevailed – the FCC looked at the stations’ gross revenues and lowered the fine by $10K and is asking now for an $8K penalty.