FCC Fines Fox Station $12,800
June 5, 2009
WASHINGTON: The FCC is fining a Fox TV station for operating without authority. The commission today released a Notice of Apparent Liability against WWOR-TV, the Fox-owned MyNetwork affiliate in Secaucus, N.J., in the amount of $12,800. The station is charged with operating its Ku-band satellite earth station without FCC permission. The station’s original authorization expired Sept. 26, 2007, but it didn’t obtain a special temporary authority to continue operating the earth station until August of 2008. Consequently, the satellite farm was in violation of FCC rules for those 11 months.
The FCC asked what was up, and Fox pleaded confusion between its own personnel and station management. “Its engineering staff believed that renewals had been sought for the license by Fox Television in-house counsel,” the NAL stated. “Thus, Fox Television claims that it was unaware that its license for the earth station had expired. Fox Television states that it first became aware that its license had expired on Aug. 13, 2008, at which time it took immediate steps to request an STA to operate its station pending the submission and grant of a new license application.”
The FCC calculated a fine of $3,000 for unauthorized earth-station operation, plus another $3,000 for failing to file the required forms. It then doubled the total to $16,000 “to ensure that forfeiture liability is a deterrent, and not simply a cost of doing business.” The commission then knocked $3,200 off the final bill for good behavior on the part of Fox, which provided voluntary disclosures and immediately filed for the necessary licenses once the situation came to light. -- Deborah D. McAdams