License Renewal Insights

Posted on September 30th, 2019 by

As promised, we’ll be periodically letting you know about license renewal issues or helpful hints in our newsletter. This month, there are two developments to note.

First, the FCC issued a public notice on September 23, 2019 announcing seven radio stations whose licenses will expire October 1st because they did not file a renewal application. These stations were in the first group of states required to file renewal applications. Three of the stations are in the AM band; the other four are low power FM stations. We don’t recall the FCC being this prompt on issuing license expiration notices in the past, but we do expect to see this type of notice every few months as the license renewal process moves along. To avoid appearing on these notices, know your renewal application deadline, and file on time.

Second, the FCC issued a blistering order that included a $15,000 fine and a short, 2-year renewal penalty for an AM station that failed to place its issues/programs lists in the station online public inspection file. The decision is worth reading. It certainly didn’t help that the station was a repeat offender. But the FCC was unconvinced by an explanation that the sole principal of the licensee was 92 years old and not computer literate. This is the first indication we have of how serious the FCC is going to be about the online public file during this renewal cycle. Stations should ensure that all reports are uploaded on time and have someone double check to confirm.