Sage Broadcasting was very lucky it could plead poverty. A combination of reporting failures and children’s commercial load overages resulted in the possibility of $80K in fines, even though the ad overages produced only $20.47 in revenue, with $0.47 in the form of cash remuneration.
The stations, KIDV-LP Albany, KIDU-LP Brownwood, KIDT-LP Stamford, and KIDZ-LP Abilene, all in Texas, were satellites of KIDB-CA Sweetwater TX. The licensees erroneously believed that this status relieved them of the necessity of keeping appropriate children’s programming records in each station’s public file.
The commercial overages, five in total, were between 30 seconds and four and a half minutes in duration, and took place during two days of an eight-year span. Sage pleaded that the negligible compensation it received for them proved no motive to break the rules.
The FCC disagreed, saying it was well within its established rights to fine all of the infractions according to precedent.
However, Sage provided the FCC with financial documentation that the FCC found acceptable and convincing. The Commission waived the $20K fine off in its entirety, but did admonish the group for willfully and repeatedly breaking the rules.