State Radio, TV Associations Ask FCC to Re-Consider KWVE Fine

All 50 state radio and TV associations have banded together to ask the FCC to re-consider fining a California radio station $5,000 for inadvertently airing a monthly test of the Emergency Alert System.

The FCC called the violation by KWVE-FM San Clemente, "willful," but the associations argue in a letter to the five FCC commissioners that the error was "quickly discovered, corrected and not repeated."

The station volunteered to serve as a primary alert station, and as such its error was sent to, and retransmitted by, other stations and cable systems.

The associations ask the FCC to admonish the station instead, arguing that the fine could discourage other radio and TV stations from volunteering. If enough of them did that, they argue, it could "pose serious risks to our nation, our states and our local communities."

The state associations and their radio and TV stations are on the front line in America's efforts to protect residents from naturally caused and man-made disasters."

In fact, KWVE got a shout-out from the FCC over a decade ago for activating its emergency alert during a tornado. "The Commission greatly appreciates the broadcast media industry's voluntary use of the EAS for state and local emergencies," the FCC said at the time.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.