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FCC Fines Pair For Operating Unlicensed LPTV Station

WASHINGTON—The FCC has fined the operators of a Kentucky low-power TV station $144,344 for transmitting without a license.

Vearl Pennington and Michael Williamson operated the station for years after the agency cancelled the station’s license, the FCC said. Pennington failed to renew the license for W10BM in Morehead, Ky., in 1998, and the Media Bureau cancelled the license in 2004 after failing to receive a response to its inquiry about whether a license renewal was filed in 1998.

Williamson later joined Pennington in operating the station despite the failure to have a license, the agency added.

Field agents from the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau warned the pair that operating the station without a license violated agency rules and the Communications Act, but they continued broadcasting.

In May 2017, the FCC adopted a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture and proposed the fine. On Jan. 28, it adopted the Forfeiture Order and released the order the next day. The pair have 30 days from the release of the order to make payment.