Regulators released four more fines against TV operations
for public file violations. Stations in Colorado, Virginia and Montana were nailed with fines totaling
$24,000 over children’s TV paperwork.
TV station licensees are required to run at least three hours of core
children’s programming per week, identify it with a specific symbol, and
provide advanced information about when it airs. Documentation of doing so must
be filed with the Federal Communications Commission on a quarterly basis via Form
KYUS-TV of Miles City, Mont., was fined $15,000 for failing to file seven
reports and being late on 14 more since it’s last license renewal in 1998. The
base fine for a skipped report is $3,000. The commission adjusts for severity
at its discretion based on “the nature, circumstances, extent and gravity of
the violation, and, with respect to the violator, the degree of culpability, any history of prior offenses,
ability to pay, and such other matters as justice may require.”
Spanish Television of Denver, licensee
of KTFD in Boulder, Colo., was fined $3,000 for failing to promote its kids’ TV
slate (in accordance with providing advanced information), for as long as
nearly five years.
Gray TV received a $3,000 fine for WCAV-TV in Charlottesville, Va., over filing
three reports late. Resort Television, which runs a Class A station in Vail,
Colo., was also fined $3,000 for late filings.
All the stations were popped during their license renewal process. All can
appeal the fine in writing within 30 days. Resort Television also can elect to
forfeit its Class A status and revert to a low-power classification. LPTVs are
not required to adhere to children’s programming rules.
According to a search of the FCC’s EDOCS database, 11 such fines have been
issued to far this year. The total for kids’ TV so far in 2014 has been $93,000.
Thunder Bay Broadcast Corp., licensee of WBKB-TV of Alpena, Mich., was fined
$20,000 in February for missing 17 reports and filling 25 more late since its
last renewal in 1999. WSJU-TV of San Juan, Puerto Rico also was fined $20,000
in February for missing 28 quarters and filing late another 20 times.
Two more Michigan stations—WBKP in Calumet and WBUP in Ishpeming—each received
a $3,000 fine in February for multiple late filings. WOI-DT of Ames, Iowa, also
received a $6,000 fine in February for four late filings.
Liberty Communications, licensee of a Class A station in Alton, Ill., was fined
$13,000 in February for not filing the Form 398 for 26 quarters and doing so
late another 17 times. Class A station KEFN-CA of St. Louis, Mo., was fined
$3,000 for violations related to filing Form 398. KTVE-TV of El Dorado, Ark.,
received a $1,000 fine in January for not running promos.
Two of the largest fines issued to TV broadcasters so far this year involved
facilities access and Emergency Alert System tones.
WPHA-CD, a Class A in Philadelphia, was fined $89,000 in March for twice
refusing to permit facilities inspections by FCC field agents. The agents found
the main studio without staffing and inaccessible to the public during business
hours—both violations of FCC rules. They also tracked down the WPHA
transmissions to a site owned by American Tower, where it was discovered that
the station was transmitting from an unauthorized antenna structure.
Turner Broadcasting received the biggest fine issues yet this year against a
broadcaster. In January, the commission levied a $200,000 fine against Turner
for running EAS tones in commercials during programming on the Cartoon Network.