If you absolutely insist on filing late for a license renewal, it is much better to do so as early as possible. This most basic of oversights should almost never happen, but it does – all the time. Here’s the deal – you are supposed to get your paperwork and filing fee into the FCC at least four months before the license expires – and since the license is essentially the heartbeat of the entire business, we’d recommend filing it well before the last second.
We’ll look at two cases, one resulting in a $1.5K fine, the other in a $12K fine. Both actually waited until the last second – one filed the day before and the other on the actual deadline day, but both had problems, so the applications could not be accepted and the fine zone had officially been entered.
It is interesting to note that today’s examples are ultimately controlled by the same owner.
In the case of GFR Inc.’s WTOT-FM Graceville, FL, it refiled the application with the fee attached, ahead of the license expiration, and suffered only the $1.5K loss.
Things were not patched up so easily with MFR Inc.’s WTOT-AM/WJAQ-FM in Marianna FL. As in the case of GFR, MFR made sure the FCC received the application fee well ahead of the license expiration. However, it did not refile the applications with it, causing rejection of the fee and expiration of license. That of course led to unauthorized operation of the stations, a form of spectrum piracy, so the $12K fine MFR was left with, or $6K per station, is actually fairly inexpensive compared to the $10K fine real spectrum pirates generally get hit with.