Encino Broadcasting failed to get license renewal paperwork in to the FCC for not one but three AM stations serving the greater Austin TX area, and now it’s going to have to pay the price – but at least it was reduced.
KELG-AM Manor TX
KOKE-AM Pflugerville TX
KTXZ-AM West Lake Hills TX
Applications for renewal are due no later than four months prior to a station’s license expiration date to allow for processing time. In this case, the applications not only missed that deadline, they also missed the expiration date itself. The stations stayed on-air, meaning that they were broadcasting without a license.
The fine for missing the first deadline, which falls under the general heading of failure to file a required form – is $3K.
Unauthorized operation, also known as piracy, carries a $10K fine when it is perpetrated by an individual who appropriates a frequency for unauthorized operation, having never held a license to broadcast on that frequency.
In the case of lapsed licensees, the FCC generally issues a $7K fine.
In this case, Encino Broadcasting remedied the situation swiftly, engaging in unauthorized operation for only two weeks. Taking that into account, the FCC reduced that fine down to $3K.
Add in the $3K for failure to file and you get a $6K penalty.
And multiply by three stations, and Encino Broadcasting finds itself with a bill for $18K.