TV Stations Incur Five-Figure Fines on Public File Foul-ups
WASHINGTON – Two TV stations are looking down the barrel of five-figure
fines over their public inspection files. The Federal Communications Commission
has cited WOCH-CA of Chicago and Augusta, Ga., NBC affiliate, WAGT-TV, for
failure to maintain proper records. WOCH was nailed for $13,000 for “failing to
prepare and place timely… quarterly TV issues/programs lists.” WAGT, owned by
Schurz Communications, was fined $10,000 for “failing to publicize the
existence and location of the station’s children’s television programming
WOCH, a Class A stationed owned by KM Communications, acknowledged that it
hadn’t filed quarterly programs lists for all of 2010 and 2011 until May 22,
2012. Failing to do so for eight straight quarters constitutes “an apparent
willful and/or repeated” violation of FCC rules, the commission said. The base
forfeiture amount for failure to file a required for is $3,000, while the base
forfeiture for failing to maintain the required reports in a public inspection
file is $10,000. WOCH has 30 days to either pay the $13,000 or file a written
appeal with the commission.
WAGT was said to have “admitted that it failed to publicize the existence and
location” of its children’s TV reports in its 2004 license renewal application.
At the time, it “promised that in the future, it would broadcast several
announcements per quarter to fulfill this requirement.”
Then in November of last year, WAGT again acknowledged in its license application
that it failed to publicize the location of the file from September, 2011,
through November 2012. The action was also deemed to be “an apparent willful
and/or repeated violation.” WAGT also has 30 days to respond.