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FCC Fines WAIC at American International College for Late License Renewal and Public File Violations

The FCC has issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture to American International College in Springfield, Massachusetts for late renewal and public file violations at WAIC-FM. Additionally, the license renewal term was shortened in response to the violations. As of October, 2011, WAIC-FM has been airing public radio content from WNPR/Connecticut Pubic Radio, but it was a student-run radio station before that.

In its renewal application WAIC states that, “Until 2011, WAIC was a student-run station supervised by a faculty member of the licensee. After the supervising faculty resigned, the licensee entered into an agreement with Connecticut Public Broadcasting, Inc., whereby WAIC would rebroadcast programming provided by CPBI station WNPR, Hartford, Connecticut.”

The FCC order states,

“…we find that Licensee apparently willfully and repeatedly violated Section 73.3539 of the Rules by failing to timely file its license renewal application, and Section 73.3527 of the Rules by failing to retain all required documentation in the Station’s public inspection file. Based upon our review of the facts and circumstances before us, we conclude that the Licensee is apparently liable for a monetary forfeiture in the amount of thirteen thousand five hundred dollars ($13,500), and that the captioned renewal application should be granted for a period of four years instead of a full term of eight years.”

According to the FCC, “…the Licensee failed to timely file the Station renewal application. Also, although it admitted to the public file rule violations, it did so only in the context of the question contained in its captioned license renewal application that compelled such disclosure. Moreover, the violations were extensive, occurring for the whole period of the license term and involving 32 late-filed and/or missing issues/programs lists.”

In its sternly worded letter, the FCC chastises American International College for its “cavalier attitude toward creating and retaining the quarterly issues/programs lists” and states that “additional measures are necessary in order to ensure that the Station is operated in compliance with the Act and the Rules in the future and that Licensee provides accurate responses to items in application forms.” By granting WAIC a shorter renewal period of 4 years, the FCC plans to “…review the Station’s compliance with the Act and the Rules and to take whatever corrective actions, if any, may be warranted at that time.”

The FCC also notes that since the station has not been student-run since 2011, the school is not eligible for the reduction in fines afforded to student-run radio stations following the William Penn University case.

This is a good reminder to all stations to be sure that someone is responsible for understanding and following FCC rules regarding license renewals and public files. Even if a school makes a deal with an outside group to air programming over one’s station, the license holder is the one responsible for ensuring FCC compliance.


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2 Responses to FCC Fines WAIC at American International College for Late License Renewal and Public File Violations

  1. Bob Davidson November 8, 2014 at 9:24 am #

    I am a 1973 American International College graduate and four-year participant at WAIC. In following the WAIC saga over the last three years, I am highly disturbed about the deterioration of what had been a valuable student resource with a rich history, with real potential for positively influencing lives.

    As a youngster I was very interested in radio and electronics. The availability of a campus radio station greatly influenced my decision to attend American International College. On my second day on campus in 1969, I walked through WAIC’s studio doors. Little did I realize how that mere act would change my life.

    Not long after I walked through those doors, I was trained on the board and began doing record shows. In time I was doing news, sports and production, and learning equipment maintenance. I landed my first paying commercial radio gig after my second year at AIC. After I graduated I found full time employment in commercial radio. My radio involvement spanned 19 years. I was not alone – other WAIC participants during my years went on to commercial radio. Others attributed lessons learned at WAIC as positive influences on their success in college teaching, management, accounting, advertising, retail electronics, and other fields.

    While I was at AIC, WAIC was entirely student operated. Responsibility for and compliance with Federal Communications Commission rules and regulations rested entirely in the hands of….college students. Our group was up to the responsibility. Not only did our General Manager uneventfully handle a license renewal (which, more recently, AIC administrators botched and incurred a hefty fine therefor), he took over implementation of a power increase from 10 watts to 230 watts. This effort involved selling the AIC student government and administration on the value of a powerful signal, retaining engineers, and completing FCC paperwork leading to issuance of a construction permit for the power increase – all performed by college students! Not educated, learned and supposedly astute adult college administrators.

    But for WAIC I could have never tried on radio altogether, not to mention that it became my career and indirectly led or contributed to two more careers. I was always grateful to WAIC for giving me direction in my life, along with it enabling friendships that have continued for 45 years. So imagine my chagrin when I learned three years ago that AIC’s administration and board of trustees had ended student involvement at WAIC and gave up its signal to Connecticut Public Radio.

    For what it was worth, three years ago some of my fellow WAIC participants and I wrote letters and e-mails of protest to American International College administrators, faculty and the board of trustees. We strongly protested the ending of student participation at WAIC and warned about consequences of converting the radio station into a CPR repeater come license renewal time. To quote the FCC’s Order, AIC’s president gave each of us “cavalier” responses. Perhaps they should have listened to us….just a bunch of (former) college students who had competently handled FCC ministerial duties that they could not while gaining invaluable life lessons and making lifelong friendships in the meantime.

  2. William J.D. Anthes November 10, 2014 at 2:10 am #

    WAIC-FM License Problems

    Like many previous and subsequent staff of WAIC FM at American International College, I greatly value the experience I was afforded through my involvement with college radio. Between 1967 and 1971, I held various positions at WAIC FM: Chief Announcer, Program Director and finally General Manager. I put my experience to good use.

    Two months after graduating, I moved to Australia and assisted the Federal Government to introduce legislation to open up FM broadcasting here and establish the Public Broadcasting Association. I went on to promote and establish 2SER FM, a Sydney Metropolitan Community/Educational Station owned by the University of Technology Sydney and Macquarie University in 1979 with a million dollar budget run by a large paid and volunteer staff that has been broadcasting ever since. I spent many years as Associate Registrar (Public Affairs) at UTS and on the back of my experience as Director/Company Secretary of 2SER FM I became a Director and investor in Radio 4GY in Queensland Australia which we subsequently sold at a substantial profit. I later managed the UTS Center for Satellite Education. Inshort, I owe a lot to WAIC FM.

    Countless broadcasting, television, public relations, acting and other communications related careers can be directly and indirectly linked to opportunities provided by radio stations such as WAIC around the world.

    I could never have imagined as a freshman in 1967, that a chance visit to the WAIC studios (where I was asked to watch the panel while the announcer used the toilet) would lead me to a career halfway around the world. I am appalled that it now seems that AIC is now almost certainly flushing our WAIC license down another sort of toilet. During my time at the station we effectively and responsibly covered riots, demonstrations and the Vietnam Moratorium and many other events without jeopardising our FCC license. The AIC administration needs to recover this valuable resource. WAIC Alumni are waiting to support you.

    William “Jay” Anthes
    AIC ’71 Sydney, Australia

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