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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