When it comes to getting an application to the FCC to renew a broadcast license, there’s late – resulting in a relatively small fine; there’s very late, leading to unauthorized operation and a much bigger fine; and there’s profoundly late, leading to the station’s deletion by the FCC. The station now known to the FCC as DDWBRO(FM) of Marengo IN fell into the latter group.
The station, licensed to Crawford County Community Radio Inc., was supposed to get its application for a new license in by 4/1/04, the standard four months prior to its license expiration date of 8/1/04. On 6/8/06, the FCC informed the station that it was operating illegally and deleted it. It soon filed for an STA, but that expired before the station’s license situation was cleared up and a second STA was not applied for.
In its defense, the station said its founder and CEO ran into trouble attempting to file the renewal application back in 2004, and then unfortunately passed away without discussing the matter with anybody else connected to the station.
The FCC hit the station with the full force of the applicable fines — $3K for failure to file a required form and $10K for unauthorized operation, for a total of $13K. But it found no grounds to suggest that CCCRI was guilty of a “pattern of abuse,” rather to the contrary the Commission found that it was in fact “served the public interest, convenience, and necessity.” It therefore reinstated the call letters and granted a new license.
RBR-TVBR observation: If this case doesn’t underscore the need to make sure that a station’s regulatory obligations are known to more than one individual, than we don’t know what possibly could. Back-up, folks, back-up!