Stations late for a very important date


The FCC is continuing to hand out fines for stations that failed to apply to renew their broadcast license in time. As a reminder, the application to do so must be in four months before the license expires. If it comes in between the due date and expiration, it results in a hefty fine. If it comes in after expiration, the fine gets a lot bigger.

One went to The Florida Institute of Technology and its WFIT-FM in Melbourne FL. The license expiration date in question was 2/1/01, which harkens back to a 10/1/03 due date for the renewal application to arrive at the FCC. The licensee missed the October date, but did get the application in on 12/3/03 before the license expired, resulting in a fine of $1.5K. FIT’s plea that the violation was an inadvertent oversight and therefore warranted cancellation of the fine was rejected.

Then there is the case of Trinity Church of the Nazarene and its KRQZ-FM Lompoc CA. Its license expired 12/1/05, making the application due date 8/1/05. The app didn’t make it to the FCC until 12/9/05, taking the station into unauthorized operation territory and resulting in a heightened penalty of $7K. Trinity pleaded inability to pay the fine, but did not supply documentation, so the fine stands as levied.

A third station which late-filed for renewal was R&B Communications’ WWTM-AM Decatur AL. The failure was in the unauthorized operation category, but in this case, the FCC did not issue a notice of apparent liability until over a year had passed, and had also renewed the station’s license in the interim. The FCC said its own tardiness lets R&B off the hook for any financial punishment, and it will skate with an admonishment.