The FCC seems to think so. The Commission’s Media Bureau has designated St. Louis area-based Entertainment Media Trust for a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge to determine whether four EMT stations were controlled by Robert Romanik, who has been convicted of felony offenses for obstruction of justice and bank fraud. That would be a violation of the Communications Act and the Commission’s rules.
Romanik calls himself “The Grim Reaper of Radio.”
Back in 2018 St. Louis state senator Jamilah Nasheed said Romanik used racist and homophobic comments on the air and she wrote a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai asking that he pull the station’s license and levy a big fine against the station. Nasheed said Romanik violated federal law which forbids obscene, indecent, or profane language on the air.
In 2016, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch printed an editorial asking local residents to call FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and pressure him to get Romanik off KZQZ-AM. At the time, Romanik, in addition to hosting his show, was running for the Illinois Statehouse. The paper reported that what he was saying about his opponent, County Board Chairman Mark Kern, was hate speech and had no place on the public airwaves.
Kern filed the most recent complaint with the FCC that triggered the hearing.
EMT purchased four AM radio stations: KFTK-AM (formerly WQQX-AM), WQQW-AM, KZQZ-AM, and KQQZ-AM in the St. Louis, Missouri market between 2006 and 2010. The company filed renewal applications for each of these stations in 2012. After receiving a petition to deny those applications from Kern, the Media Bureau conducted a multiyear inquiry into the allegations that the stations were controlled by Romanik. The Bureau’s investigation found significant evidence supporting the claim that Romanik exercised de facto control over the stations. The investigation confirmed that Romanik established EMT and provided all of EMT’s funds for the acquisition of the stations, but was not listed as a party in any of EMT’s applications.
If it’s determined EMT committed the violations, EMT’s licenses may be cancelled.