FCC Rejects Challenges To KTRU/Houston Sale
April 15, 2011 at 12:56 PM (PT)
The FCC has denied the objections of FRIENDS OF KTRU and three listeners to the sale of noncommercial KTRU and K218DA/HOUSTON by RICE UNIVERSITY to the UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON. The controversial sale drew complaints from RICE students, station staff, and some listeners, upset that RICE's campus programming would be moved to online-only status and that KTRU would become a second outlet for programming from the buyer's KUHF. The petitions alleged that the format change would be against the Commission's localism stance, that it would result in a concentration of noncommercial FM licenses, that the buyer's public file is missing an ownership report, and the price was deflated and against the public interest. The Commission noted that it does not get involved in formats and that the buyer has no duty to file anything beyond qualification as a noncommercial educational entity, that the concentration issue was unsupported by evidence, that the missing KUHF ownership report is not in itself grounds for denial unless intentional, and the purchase price is irrelevant unless there is evidence that the transaction was not at arm's length.
The FCC has also rejected SAGA COMMUNICATIONS' appeals of fines for public file violations at four ILLINOIS stations. Classic Rock WYMG/CHATHAM-SPRINGFIELD was fined $9,000 and Talk WTAX-A/SPRINGFIELD and Country WIXY and Hot AC WLRW (MIX 94.5)/CHAMPAIGN were fined $3,000 each for missing issues/programs lists that SAGA itself voluntarily reported in the stations' license renewal applications. SAGA appealed on the basis that the fines were out of proportion to the offense and to the punishment in similar cases.
PHOENIX BROADCASTING GROUP, INC. lost its appeal of $9,000 fines at each of KAMJ/GOSNELL, AR and KQXF/OSCEOLA, AR for public file violations.
PAUL SMITH'S COLLEGE has been fined $250 for unauthorized operation of noncommercial WPSA/PAUL SMITHS, NY. The station filed its license renewal application late; the statute of limitations barred a fine for the late application but not the unauthorized operation.
Similarly, ESCALANTE CITY, UT, former licensee of FM translator K237AD/ESCALANTE, UT, was also fined $250 for the same violation.
And NEW BEGINNING WORLD OUTREACH, INC. has reached a Consent Decree with the Commission over underwriting announcement violations at noncommercial WNBV/GRUNDY, VA. The licensee will pay a "voluntary contribution" of $3,450 to the United States Treasury in eight installments as part of the agreement.