The FCC found a large number of Class A television stations that had not lived up to all of their Class A obligations and ordered them to show cause why they shouldn’t be busted down to LPTV statues. One licensee who had that happen to three stations failed to get them promoted back to Class A.
The licensee is Convergence Entertainment and Communications LLC, licensee of WGMU-CA and WBCT-CA Burlington VT, and W19BR Monkton VT.
All three had failed to file Children’s Television Programming Reports. All three were ordered to show cause twice why their licenses should not be downgraded from Class A to LPTV status, and none did so in a timely manner.
It was only after FCC put the change in effect that CEC got around to trying to salvage the Class A status.
It said it had never been notified about the missing reports, but did admit to receiving the notices to show cause.
In the case of two of the stations, the company explained the lateness. According to the FCC, “Convergence does not specifically seek a waiver of the statutory deadline or the Commission’s rules, but rather states generally in a footnote that travel schedules and office closings prevented it from meeting the filing deadline of November 23, 2012, the Friday after Thanksgiving.”
The FCC responded, “We do not believe that Convergence has shown such compelling or extraordinary circumstances to be present here. Indeed, Convergence’s note that travel schedules and office and business closures were the basis for its failure to file on the Friday after Thanksgiving would appear to be ordinary and predictable circumstances, especially without any specification of which parties were traveling that would have prevented timely filing. Accordingly, we lack the power to excuse the late-filed pleading based on the facts before us, and dismiss the Petition as late-filed.”
The stations will remain at the LPTV level.
RBR-TVBR observation: This seemed to be a very important trend last year. Class A television stations have rights and protections that LPTVs do not enjoy. And Class A stations get to participate in the incentive auctions, whereas LPTVs do not. But Class As also carry the same general obligations applied to full power stations, and a very large number of them were caught in this dragnet due to the lack of proper reports on children’s programming.
The lesson here is obvious – know your obligations and responsibilities as a licensee, and always always always promptly reply to any FCC inquiry.