FCC Fines Unlicensed Kentucky LPTV Max Penalty

WASHINGTON—DW10BM, a low-power TV station in Morehead, Ky., has received the maximum possible fine under the Communications Act for operating as an unlicensed station. The FCC issued the proposed fine of $144,344 to Vearl Pennington and Michael Williamson after an investigation found the individuals were operating the station after the FCC license was canceled in 2004 following a failure to file a renewal.

Pennington was granted a license to operate DW10BM in 1990, renewed it in 1993, but failed to do so in 1998. The FCC wrote to Pennington in 2004 inquiring if he had submitted a renewal request in 1998, but received no response. As a result, the FCC canceled the license for DW10BM in 2004. According to the FCC, Penning and Williamson have continued to operate the station and have ignored repeated warnings that they were in violation of the law.

Another entity related the FCC to the continued operation of DW10BM, which instituted the FCC’s investigation. The FCC says that it met with both Pennington and Williamson during the investigation, were instructed to cease operations, warned of possible enforcement actions, and issued an on-scene Notice of Unlicensed Radio operation. The FCC then concluded the men continued to operate the station.

The FCC has formally issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture against both Pennington and Williamson.