College Station Fined By FCC In Public File Dispute
February 1, 2010 at 11:00 AM (PT)
GASTON COLLEGE has been fined $8,000 by the FCC for public file violations at noncommercial WSGE/DALLAS, NC.
A complaint alleged that the school refused to allow him to see the files on one visit, being told to come back another day, and when he advised the station employee that the rules require access to the file, he was directed to the wrong file drawer. The station's GM arrived and told him the same thing; the college VP for Finance and Operations told him to make an appointment with the college attorney, who then called and ordered the complainant off the premises or he would be arrested.
The next day, the GM repeated the requirement of an appointment through the college attorney, but the complainant advised the GM of the FCC rules, whereupon he was given access to a hanging file that was missing "The Public and Broadcasting," issues/programs lists, and EEO reports, all of which were then provided upon request.
The college claimed that the complainant, an employee of a rival college which it claims wants to force GASTON to sell it the station, was "hostile" and was acting as part of a pattern of "harassment and intimidation." The FCC rejected that defense but reduced the fine from $10,000 due to the circumstances and a history of compliance.