There is nothing new or exotic about maintaining a public file. In fact, the FCC is trying to ratchet up reporting requirements via its enhanced disclosure initiative. Still, despite all this recent attention, two owners and six stations have been nailed by the Commission for public file violations. Some of the omissions date all the way back 1996. Each station is facing a $9K fine, totally $27K for each licensee. Caught in the dragnet were: Capital Asset stations WRJX-AM/WHOD-FM of Jackson AL and WBMH-FM of Grove Hill AL; and LaSalle County Broadcasting stations WLPO-AM/WAJK-FM LaSalle IL and WKOT-FM, Marseilles IL.
RBR/TVBR observation: In the case of LaSalle, management suspects key files were tossed during turnover of staff. This is of course no excuse, and it underscores the necessity of making sure a specific member of a station’s staff has primary responsibility for the files. This staffer must have sufficient understudies, the staffer and understudies must be sufficiently schooled in the proper maintenance of the file, and there must be a plan of succession should the primary guardian of the file leave for any period of time, most especially permanently.