Uptick of Admonishments, Consent Decrees and Forfeitures During License Renewal

Posted on September 28th, 2021 by

Recent weeks have seen a decided uptick in the number of actions being taken against broadcast stations during the license renewal process.

Several TV stations have been admonished for late uploads to the online public file, like this one that had 11 issues/programs lists uploaded to the station public file between one day and one month late.

A number of notices of apparent liability for monetary forfeitures have also been issued in recent weeks, including a $7,000 fine for not timely filing a renewal application and unauthorized operation, and a $3,000 fine for 10 late uploads of issues/programs lists to the public file, 2 of which were more than a year late, 3 of which were between one month and one year late, and 5 of which were between one day and one month late.

Consent decrees have continued as well, with multiple stations agreeing to them in exchange for license renewal.  Most often, consent decrees involve situations with numerous late uploads to the station public file and other related compliance issues, as reflected here and here.  Decrees do not normally include fines, but do require heavy post-renewal regular reporting to the FCC on compliance, and self-reporting of any violations during the decree reporting period.