Pillsbury’s communications lawyers have published FCC Enforcement Monitor monthly since 1999 to inform our clients of notable FCC enforcement actions against FCC license holders and others. This month’s issue includes:
- FCC Increases Fine to $25,000 for Main Studio and Public File Violations
- FCC Reaffirms $10,000 Public File Violation Against Student-Run Noncommercial FM Station
FCC Fines Texas Broadcaster $25,000 for Repeated Failure to Maintain Full-Time Personnel and to Make Available a Complete Public Inspection File
According to a recent Notice of Apparent Liability (“NAL”), the FCC proposed two fines totaling $25,000 against a Texas broadcaster for violations of Section 73.1125 (the “Main Studio Rule”) and Section 73.3526 (the “Public Inspection File Rule”) of the Commission’s Rules. The violations were discovered during three separate site visits over a two week period by an agent from the Enforcement Bureau’s Houston Field Office.
The Main Studio Rule establishes the requirements for a station’s main studio, including minimum staffing levels. The FCC requires that licensees maintain a “meaningful management and staff presence” at a station’s main studio. Based on a 1991 decision, the FCC defines “meaningful” as having at least one management level employee and one staff level employee generally present “during normal business hours.” The base forfeiture for violations of Section 73.1125 is $7,000. The Public Inspection File Rule requires broadcasters to maintain, and make available, certain material in their public inspection file, including a station’s current authorization, a current copy of the Public and Broadcasting manual, and a list of programs (“issues-programs list”) broadcast during each quarter of the license term that evidences the station’s most significant treatment of community issues. The base forfeiture for violations of Section 73.3526 is $10,000.