Manchester College, the licensee of WBKE-FM North Manchester IN, lost its student manager due to an entirely predictable event – graduation. The replacement manager, and the faculty advisor, simply assumed that the station had applied for its license renewal. They assumed wrong.
The renewal application was due 4/1/04, and the license expired 8/1/04. It wasn’t until 2/22/05 that the College applied for an STA to operate the station, and it wasn’t until nearly another month went by, until 3/16/05, that a new license was granted.
That amounts to unauthorized operation, on top of the late filing fine.
The station attempted to get the fine reduced since it is a non-commercial student-run operation, but provided only a budget summary to make its case. The FCC preferably wants tax returns or other solid financial documentation, and the budget filing was rejected.
However, the station earned a reduction for overall compliance with FCC rules, getting $1.4K knocked off the total for a final assessment of $5.6K.
RBR-TVBR observation: Every station needs to make sure there is at least one person who keeps track of what needs to go to the FCC when, and preferably, that person should have ample back-up. This is infinitely more important at student-run stations with built-in transient staffing. Somebody with staying power – by definition, not a student – should be keeping track of this.