On Friday, the FCC’s Audio Division released its first decision in the current renewal cycle addressing the issue of incomplete public inspection files and missing Quarterly Issues Programs List, proposing to fine an AM station in Virginia $15,000 for apparently not having any Issues Programs Lists in its online public inspection file for the entire renewal term. The decision, found here, should serve as a warning to broadcasters to make sure that their online files are complete and up to date.
The facts of this case, summarized below, seem particularly egregious as the station had the same issue of missing issues programs lists when its last renewal was filed 8 years ago. Nevertheless, we can expect that this won’t be the last fine we will see for stations that have incomplete public files. The FCC has been sending out warnings about incomplete online files for the last year, and we’ve been warning (see, for instance, here and here) that, with all public inspection files now being available online, the FCC will likely be issuing fines during this renewal cycle if documents are missing from the file. The Quarterly Issues Programs lists are seen by the FCC as being particularly important as they are the only official documents demonstrating the public interest programming that was actually broadcast by a station (see our article here). Continue Reading $15,000 Fine and Short-Term License Renewal Proposed for Radio Station Missing Issues Programs Lists in Its Online Public Inspection File