The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) ordered an FM translator owner to pay a fine of $2,000 for rebroadcasting a primary station without notifying the FCC. According to the forfeiture order released March 2, 2020, Carolina Radio Group Inc. – licensee of FM Translator station W225DF in Raleigh, North Carolina – rebroadcast station WQDR-FM(HD3) for a month without properly notifying the FCC. This information was brought to the Commission’s attention in a complaint.
It is worth noting that the rebroadcast at issue lasted only a month, which goes to show you that even a short-lived violation can be costly. We can only assume that this short duration is the reason behind the Commission’s decision to assess a fine of $2,000 rather than the $7,000 total base forfeitures permitted by the rules.
This order serves as an important reminder that broadcasters must promptly inform the FCC when they have changed the primary station on any of their translator stations. Be sure to contact your communications counsel to report a change as soon as possible!