Oregon small-market cluster hit with big FCC fine


Dollar SignIt’s bad enough to get nailed for a public file violation – it’s one of the pricier violations on the FCC’s menu of punishments – so it’s totally uncool when five related stations are found to have incomplete public files.

Such is the case for Pacific Empire Radio Corporation and its five-station northwest Oregon radio cluster. The stations are located in unrated territory not far from the state’s border with Washington to the south of Walla Walla.

The stations include KLBM-AM/KUBQ-FM La Grande OR, KLBM-AM/KKBC-FM Baker OR and KRJT-FM Elgin OR.

When public files are present but incomplete, the usual suspect causing a problem is a missing collection of issues/programs lists, and that was the case at all five of the stations in question.

This could have amounted to a $50K fine – the going rate for a public file violation is $10K. But the FCC showed some leniency in this case.

The FCC explained, “…we also take into account the number of Stations involved, the fact that the Stations’ public inspection files were partially complete, and that the missing issues/programs lists would have been substantially similar given the proximity of the communities served by the Stations. We also take into account Pacific Empire’s history of compliance with the Rules.”

The result was a halving of the maximum possible fine to $25K. The stations are also on reporting conditions.