Multiple fines for one owner’s Kansas AMs


Pile of MoneyAn AM station in Scott City KS was discovered to be without a main studio, and that led to the secondary discovery that its public file, though in town, was completely out of date. A second co-owned station in Garden City was found with a downed tower fence.

The licensee was Steckline Communications. The station in Scott City was KYUL-AM. An FCC journeyed to Scott City 7/12/12 to inspect the station, but couldn’t find it. Eventually, he located the station’s public file using information provided by Steckline, and found it hadn’t had a fresh entry since 2009.

Steckline said the station had been completely unstaffed since 2011, and noted that the public file omissions were an oversight.

The FCC hit Steckline with the standard $7K for the lack of a main studio and adjusted it upward to $8K; and hit it with the standard $10K file fine, and adjusted that upward to $12K for a total fine of $20K. It is at the notice of apparent liability stage, meaning Steckline still has a chance to appeal if it chooses.

The other station in Garden City was KIUL-AM. On 7/12/12, an FCC agent inspected the tower site and found the fence around it flattened, and with weeds growing out between planks.

Steckline said the downed fence was the result of a storm that took place 4/29/12. It said temporary repairs were made in May and that it was unaware that the fence was down again at the time of the agent’s visit. It had the fence fixed by 7/17/12 and sent the FCC photographic evidence.

The fence problem resulted in a $7K NAL, which has now graduated into a full-fledged forfeiture order.

RBR-TVBR observation: The wisdom of keeping your relationship with the FCC in order cannot be overstated. We see this type of thing all the time – where one fine leads to another. And the other fine it usually leads to is a public file fine, which usually carries a price tag of $10K. It is simple economics to make sure you have multiple individuals who understand FCC requirements and make sure they are being followed.