Oregon AM Fined $5k Over Silent Ownership Transfer


The FCC Media Bureau has finalized a Consent Decree with Willamette Broadcasting Company, the licensee of KYKN-AM in Keizer, OR. This agreement comes after controlling interest in Willamette was transferred to Jeffrey Morgan without prior FCC approval.

After Willamette’s owner, Michael Frith, passed away in May 2021, an application for involuntary transfer of control was filed with the Commission that July to reflect the transfer of Frith’s controlling interest as dictated by his will. According to the will, Morgan was to become the majority holder of equity interest in Willamette, at 51%.

Then in May 2022, the beneficiaries of Frith’s will increased Morgan’s total voting and equity interest from 51% to 94.4%. An Oregon Circuit Court approved these changes in November 2022, and the shift in ownership was completed in December. However, the FCC was not notified until February of this year.

By doing so, Willamette exited compliance with section 310 of the Communications Act of 1934 and section 73.3540 of the FCC’s rules. Under the terms of the Consent Decree, WBC acknowledges its violation and has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $5,000 to the United States Treasury.

With reporting from Adam Jacobson.


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