The FCC proposed a $7,000 fine against a Nevada TV station for various public inspection file violations. As noted above, Section 73.3526 of the FCC’s Rules requires commercial broadcasters to maintain public inspection files containing specific types of information related to station operations, and subsection 73.3526(b)(2) requires TV and non-exempt radio licensees to upload most of that information to an online public file.
The station filed its license renewal application in June 2014. The application disclosed several public file violations, including failure to timely prepare or place in the inspection file Issues/Programs Lists and children’s commercial limit certifications. After conversations between the FCC and the licensee’s attorney, the station filed an amended application in January 2017. The amended application disclosed the following public file violations: (1) untimely preparation of commercial limit certifications prior to the fourth quarter of 2012; (2) untimely placement of commercial limit certifications in the station’s online public file for seven quarters between the fourth quarter of 2012 and the second quarter of 2016; (3) untimely upload of Issues/Programs Lists to the station’s online public file prior to and including the second quarter of 2012, as well as for the second quarter of 2014; (4) failure to have a copy of the station’s Issues/Programs List for the first quarter of 2012; and (5) untimely filing of the station’s Children’s Television Programming Reports for the first quarter of 2012.
FCC guidelines set a base forfeiture amount of $10,000 for failure to maintain a station’s public file, and as discussed above, the FCC may adjust a fine upward or downward after taking into account the particular facts of each case. Here, based on its “review of the facts and circumstances” (and without additional elaboration), the FCC found that a proposed fine of $7,000 was appropriate.