Recent Flurry of FCC Enforcement Actions Reminds Stations to Check Public Inspection Files and Take Annual Equipment Measurements


The FCC has issued a flurry of fines against broadcast stations in the past week or two. While a number of these fines were for the operation of unlicensed pirate radio stations, several of the fines were for public inspection file violations, stations broadcasting with excessive power or failing to reduce power at nighttime, or for other technical violations. Agents from the Commission's field offices have been busy visiting stations, and licensees are urged to heed these recent forfeiture actions and review their own operations to ensure compliance with the Commission's rules, starting with the main studio rules and public inspection file requirements, about which we've written often in the past.

While the main studio and public inspection file requirements seem basic, the failure to properly follow these rules can be quite costly. Today's FCC releases carries news of two such fines, one for $24,000 and one for $25,000. In the first case involving two AM stations, the Commission fined the licensee $12,000 per station for failing to maintain a local public inspection file. A copy of the decision is available here. The FCC increased the forfeiture from the base fine of $10,000 based on its finding of violations at other stations operated by the licensee, which in the FCC's view may indicate a "systemic compliance issue". In the second case, available here, the Commission fined two other AM stations operated by the same licensee a total of $25,000 for public inspection file violations, failure to operate consistent with the terms of the station's license, and failure to make required annual measurements.

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