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Kid TV Fines Total $93,000 So Far in 2014

WASHINGTON—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 398.

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.