Did you know that the application to renew a broadcast license is due four months before the license expires? Jason Communications Inc., licensee of WDOW-AM and WHPD-FM in Dowagiac MI found out the hard way. Its applications were due 6/1/04 ahead of a 10/1/04 expiration date, but the app didn’t make it to the FCC until 8/26/04. That’s $1.5K a pop, or $3K total, for failure to file a timely renewal application. An appeal to have the fines canceled or reduced as turned down.
JCI made two attempts to wriggle out of the fine. First, it said its exec tried and failed to log onto the FCC site to apply on 6/14/04, and then submitted an application on 6/22/04 that apparently didn’t take for one reason or another. The FCC did not think that was grounds for a reduction since it was still past the 6/1/04 deadline. Then JCI asked for recognition of its general record of compliance, but the FCC said tardy two stations didn’t seem all that compliant, and let the fines stand as assessed.
RBR/TVBR observation: JCI can at least be glad that it beat the deadline by a couple of months. Every now and then we see one of these cases, in which the offending licensee fails to apply for renewal until after the license, rather than the application due date, has expired. Generally the station remains on the air when this happens, making it an unauthorized operation, or piracy, offense, which carries a $10K punitive pricetag – which would have been doubled to $20K in this case.