FCC Wants $16k Fine, Loss of FM Translator For One Georgia AM


The Federal Communications Commission is taking a coastal Georgia AM station’s FM translator and slapping the operator with a $16,200 fine for myriad violations, including unauthorized operation and modification, dead air, and unauthorized transfer of control.

The Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture is levied against Southern Media Interactive LLC for multiple violations related to its operation of WSFN-AM in Brunswick and its FM translator W279BC in the same location.

SMI lost access to its licensed transmitter site in September 2022, leading to the station going off the air. Subsequently, SMI made requests for special temporary authority to operate silently and later, from an alternate location. The FCC granted these requests, allowing the station to resume operation in January 2023.

However, the FCC received an informal complaint that the translator was broadcasting while the AM signal was not, leading to an investigation that uncovered many other alleged issues.

The Commission’s scrutiny uncovered that SMI had willfully and repeatedly operated WSFN from an unlicensed location and with equipment not specified in their license, and that the W279BC’s license had automatically terminated due to over a year of unauthorized operation from a non-licensed site.

that they failed to notify the FCC or obtain authorization when WSFN discontinued operations on two occasions, and the broadcaster had willfully transferred control of WSFN and W279BC to Shanks Broadcasting, LLC without authorization.

The unauthorized transfer of control concerns not just the physical assets but also the programming, personnel, and financial management of the station.

The FCC also found SMI’s partial and incomplete responses to its requests for information impeded the Commission’s ability to assess the full scope of the violations and take appropriate action.

Given the scope of the violation, the FCC seeks to uphold termination of W279BC’s license and has proposed a monetary forfeiture of $16,200 against Southern Media Interactive.


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