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College Radio Survivor: WZRD Fined for Public File Violation

This week the FCC issued a Notice of Apparent Liability (PDF) for Forfeiture to Northeastern Illinois University for $1000 for a public file violation. According to the notice, college radio station WZRD’s public file was missing 12 issues/programs lists from 2007-2010. In the course of renewing its license, WZRD admitted to the missing lists, stating that “the missing issues/programs lists were timely prepared, but were apparently misplaced when the officer that was appointed to serve as the quarterly issues officer left the position and the station reorganized its studio space.”

The notice also points out that Northeastern Illinois University discovered the missing documents while completing its renewal application and then made some changes to its processes in order to avoid future problems with the public file. According to the notice,
…Licensee added the Director of Communications & Student Media to the station chain of command for additional continuity in maintaining the public inspection file, created a backup copy of the entire public inspection file, and recently engaged specialized FCC counsel to provide additional guidance regarding filing requirements.

Interestingly, the FCC points out in a footnote that it had initially contacted Northeastern Illinois State University about arranging for a Consent Decree. Since WZRD is a student-run non-commercial educational radio station with a first-time violation, the FCC now has a more lenient stance (as evidenced by its response to violations at William Penn University station KIGC), which includes offering stations the opportunity for a Consent Decree instead of a Notice of Apparent Liability. The notice states,

. . . instead of issuing a Notice of Apparent Liability (‘NAL’), the Bureau will first afford the licensee an opportunity to negotiate a consent decree in which the licensee agree to a complains plan and makes a voluntary contribution to the United States Treasury. In negotiating the amount of the voluntary contribution, the Bureau will consider the totality of circumstances, including giving appropriate consideration to the station’s finances with respect to reducing the base forfeiture amount significantly.’… Licensee has not responded to numerous messages regarding a proposed Consent Decree. We are therefore issuing this NAL.

Radio Survivor readers might recall that there was some controversy at WZRD as it approached license renewal in 2012. In summer 2012, the administration suspended DJs, placed the radio club on “inactive status” and switched to automated programming while it completed the license renewal application. By early 2013, students were back on the air and I was happy to see a lively radio station when I visited in April, 2013.

In other college radio news this week…

Alumni Gathering and WJPZ Documentary Premiere on March 1

Syracuse University radio station WJPZ (aka Z89) has an active alumni group which will be hosting an annual reunion on March 1. At the event, a new documentary about the history of student radio station WJPZ will debut. Here’s a trailer.


Woodie Finalists to Be Announced Feb. 11th

If you’re dying to know which stations made it to the finals for the mtvU College Radio Woodie award, stay tuned for an announcement on Feburary 11th.

5 More LPFM Applications Granted for Colleges and Universities

As Paul pointed out in yesterday’s LPFM Watch, the steady stream of LPFM application grants continued this week, with the grand total surpassing 700 so far. He also reported that one applicant, Luther College (among the 17 new college radio grants last week), is an interesting case in that it’s swapping its time-shared AM station license for a full-day LPFM. In addition to the new college radio station application grants this week, Carroll University (Waukesha, WI) had its application dismissed. Here are the most recent college-affiliated grantees:

Granted on February 3, 2014:

SUNY College at Oneonta (Oneonta, NY)

University of Hawaii at Hilo (Hilo, HI)

Granted on February 5, 2014:

Dine College (Tsaile, AZ)

Granted on February 6, 2014:

University of North Florida Board of Trustees (Jacksonville, FL)

Granted on February 7, 2014:

Sweet Briar College (Sweet Briar, VA)- application granted today after being dismissed yesterday and reinstated today

Board of Regents, University of Wisconsin System on Behalf of University of Wisconsin, La Crosse (La Crosse, WI)

You can read about more college and university applicants here.

We cover the culture of college radio every Friday in our College Radio Survivor feature. If you have college radio news to share, please drop us a note at EDITORS at RADIOSURVIVOR dot COM.

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