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FCC Proposes Fining Stations For Missing Documents

The FCC has proposed fining five TV stations a total of more than $50,000 for failing to properly maintain their public files. Lately, the FCC has been cracking down on public filing infractions and violations of its kids TV ad limits.

The biggest hit during this round would be to KRII (TV)  in Chisholm, Minn. The station admitted it had not placed kids programming documents and lists of its public affairs issues/programs in its files from the time the station had launched until 2005.

Others fined for omissions of public affairs program lists, kids TV programming reports or information on their kids TV ads were KBWB-TV San Francisco, $10,000; KSEE Fresno $10,000; low-power station KFXO-LP Bend, Ore. $10,000 and KUTV Salt Lake City $4,000.

All the stations volunteered the lapses in filings in applications for renewal of their station licenses, and all said they had corrected what they said were inadvertent omissions and clerical errors.

In KRII's defense, it pointed out that their station was a satellite of KBJR Superior, Wis., which had filed the information. They went on to explain that its programming was the exact same as the other station, and that the filings it made in 2005 were the same as KBJR. The station said that it was when it was bringing its kids TV filings up do date that it realized it also had not filed its public issues/programs list (stations are required by the FCC to identify issues of interest to their local communities and the programs they aired to address them).

According to the FCC: "Where lapses occur in maintaining the public file, neither the negligent acts nor omissions of station employees or agents, nor the subsequent remedial actions undertaken by the licensee, excuse or nullify the licensee's rule violation."