It’s bad enough to take a hit from the FCC for a public file violation – but it’s even worse when each station in a four-station cluster is guilty of the same violation and subject to its own individual fine.
The particular omission in this case is the tried-and-true failure to include issues/programs lists. Opus self-reported the violation when applying for license renewals.
The stations are all in the Tallahassee FL market, and include WWOF-FM, WQTL-FM, WANK-FM and WHTF-FM.
It asked for a reduction or cancellation of the fines – which amounted to $4K per station for a total of $16K – on the basis of four claims – that the company has an overall record of compliance, that it had just bought the stations when the violations occurred (which was between 2005 and 2007); that it took steps to rectify the situation; and that it self-reported the violations.
The last three arguments are often attempted and just as frequently turned down by the FCC. The rules are the rules, and there is no provision or precedent for a penalty reduction based on the timing of a violation, and candor is not something to be rewarded, it’s something to be expected.
The novel point made by the FCC was on the general compliance issue. The FCC said that more than one station was implicated in this instance – and the fact that there are four blemishes on the Opus record, even if they occurred simultaneously, eliminates any possibility of a compliance reduction.
The fines stand.