Three radio stations hit with public file fines


FCC agents have found three more stations with public file problems. In two cases, dreaded issues/programs lists were missing from the files, and in the other, there was absolutely nothing in the file any more recent than material placed there in 2006. All three stations received notices of apparent liability.

One of the stations is WHAW(AM) of Lost Creek WV, licensed to Stephen R. Peters. An FCC agent discovered that there were no issues/program lists for the current license term, going back to 2003.

The FCC noted that the rules require “…licensees to place in their public inspection file, for each calendar quarter, a list of programs that have provided the station’s most significant treatment of community issues during the preceding three month period. This list is known as the ‘issues/programs list’ and must include a brief narrative describing what issues were given significant treatment and the programming that provided this treatment. The description of the programs must include, but shall not be limited to, the time, date, duration, and title of each program in which the issue was treated. Copies of the issues/programs list must be retained in the public inspection file until final action has been taken on the station’s next license renewal application.

Next up is WVRW(FM) Glenville WV, licensed to Della Jane Woofter. It too was short issues/program lists – the FCC said that there were nine reports missing that should have been in the file.

Finally, Media East’s WLGT(AM) Washington NC was hit for not having anything in the public file that wasn’t several years old. Staffers believed the material that should have been in the file was located at a different station within the company, in a different town in North Carolina. The rules, however, state that every station must have a file available for public inspection on the premises.

All three violations were hit with $10K NALs apiece.

RBR-TVBR observation: From time to time an attorney or other interested party will make the point that the public file regimen is outdated, burdensome and/or unnecessary. However, it is still in place, and it’s expensive to have a public file slip-up. If you have any question at all what is supposed to be in it, well, all we can say is it’s a lot cheaper to find any omissions and fix them yourself rather than to wait for an FCC agent to find them.