An AM broadcaster located in Puerto Rico received an upwardly adjusted $25,000 penalty after defaulting on a 2008 Consent Decree with the FCC. According to the Consent Decree, in 2005.
a resident agent of the San Juan Office issued a NAL in the amount of $15,000 to [the licensee]. The [licensee] filed a response to the NAL, but the Bureau found no basis upon which to reduce the proposed forfeiture and issued the Forfeiture Order. The [licensee] filed a petition for reconsideration of the Forfeiture Order, regarding the fencing violation. On February 1, 2007, the Bureau released the MO&O granting in part and denying in part the [licensee's] petition for reconsideration and reducing the forfeiture to $14,000 based on the [licensee's] good faith efforts to comply with Section 73.49 of the Rules. The [licensee] filed an application for review of the MO&O, requesting that the fencing violation be cancelled.
In 2008, the licensee entered into a Consent Decree with the FCC. The May 2011 NAL states that the Consent Decree terminated the FCC's 2005 enforcement investigation of alleged violations of Sections 73.49, 73.1350(a) and 73.3526 of the FCC's Rules.
Section 73.49 of the FCC's Rules requires broadcasters to enclose certain RFR emitting antennas within a locked fence or other enclosure, Section 73.1350(a) requires that a licensee operate its station in accordance with the terms of the station's license, and Section 73.3526 requires that stations maintain and provide public access to their public inspection file.
The Consent Decree required the broadcaster to, among other things, make an $8,000 voluntary contribution to the U.S. Treasury, correct the underlying fencing, operating and public inspection file violations, and provide status reports to the FCC at three months, 12 months, and 24 months following the effective date of the Consent Decree.
The 2011 NAL stated that as of May 10, 2011, the AM broadcaster had not made the voluntary contribution or submitted any compliance reports.
The FCC indicated that the "absence of a specific rule violation from the list of established forfeiture base amounts should not signal that the FCC considers any unlisted violation as nonexistent or unimportant …and that it retains discretion to issue forfeitures on a case-by-case basis, irrespective of whether it has established a corresponding base forfeiture amount." The FCC further stated that, "a consent decree violation, like misrepresentation, is particularly serious." As a result, the NAL assessed an "upgraded" $25,000 forfeiture against the licensee.