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 reports.”

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.