The downside of a Class A duopoly


LPTVOn one level, it’s great to be able to offer two program streams over the television airspace – it enables two completely different program lineups, or in the case of small contours, it enables the delivery of one program stream to a greater number of people. But in the event of an FCC violation, it can lead to a double-sized fine.

Such is the case of WYYW-CD and WTSN-CD Evansville IN, licensed to Evansville Low Power Partnership.

The stations, like so many others in their class, ran afoul of the FCC’s rules regarding the reporting of compliance with the FCC’s rules on the provision of educational children’s programming.

The reports must go into each station’s public file, and the FCC did not indicate any problem on this count. But they must also be provided to the FCC, and here’s where the breach occurred. Each station late-filed the required quarterly report on numerous occasions.

The FCC hit each station with a $9K fine – making it $18K in all that is liable for forfeiture.

This beats forfeiting a Class A license, however. During the course of 2012, the FCC found numerous Class A television stations with deficiencies in their compliance with children’s program reporting, and for some reason, many of the stations failed to respond to the FCC’s inquiries into the matter.

The stations that did not respond found themselves busted down to LPTV status, losing certain regulatory protections and also losing the right to participate in the upcoming spectrum auctions.