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SPECIAL REPORT: Has the FCC Gotten Fine Happy?



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(3/1/2011 6:40:20 PM)   Flag as inappropriate content
Been in the business for 25 years, now a small market owner and have never seen an FCC inspection. Are there typically any warnings or just a fine... period for any violation?
- Chris Samples
(3/1/2011 10:28:03 AM)   Flag as inappropriate content
Here is one answer to your question, how can a station be fined for license renewal? Answer: The attorney screws up! I have a technical client that uses a very large Washington D.C. firm and the specific attorney has decades of experience with an excellent track record. The problem is the attorney uses staff for just about everything. This client has five stations and everything was turned over to the attorney for filing along with the credit card information to pay for the applications. All five applications were filed on time but somehow only four were paid and for whatever reason nobody knew the one application had not been paid until well after (about six months) the expiration of the current license. The fee was paid at that time. The client waited well over a year on pins and needles for a decision from the FCC. In the end the FCC ruled that the client had filed on time but failed to pay the fee on time so the FCC levied penalties and interest on the amount of days the fee was late. When the late fees were paid the license was renewed. The late fees were much less than a fine but the client still has a blackmark on his record through no fault of his own other than trusting his attorney. Doublecheck everything your attorney does for you, check every application, it is easy to do with on-line access.
- Richard Hardy
(3/1/2011 10:07:59 AM)   Flag as inappropriate content
don't play by the rules get fined, don't play by the rules and give the govt a reason to take over. broadcasters' seem to think they own the freq when they are only renting it.
- ~kned
(3/1/2011 5:32:20 AM)   Flag as inappropriate content
While I agree that fine-happy FCC agents should not be nit-picking on stations for every rule in the books, I must point out a few things. When I was at WNYM in the late 80's, we were constantly "tested" by either the GM or the CE once a month on basic stuff relating to the operation of the station that a surprise FCC visit could bring. In retrospect, that was a good thing. Till this day, I remember the 'exact' definition of "modulation." I would constantly write up Zev Brenner's weekly programs for the public file to keep it up to date. That was running a radio station legally. Having said that, inspectors with a lot of time on their hands, should stop popping radio stations for every little thing with high fines.
- Al Gordon


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