Public file violations carry one of the stiffest base penalties of all commonly levied by the FCC, on par with frequency piracy. When the infraction is in one way or another deemed egregious, they get even stiffer. Mt. Rushmore has just been hit with four of them.
The stations are all part of the same cluster – four FMs licensed to Casper WY. They include KASS-FM, KHOC-FM, KMLD-FM and KQLT-FM.
In each case, the public file was light 23 reports dating from the beginning of the license term 9/28/05 until an FCC inspection 8/17/11. The missing element of the files were issues/program lists, which seems by far to be the most common public file omission.
The FCC noted the base fine of $10K per station, and stated its authority to adjust it in either direction. In this case, it said “…that an upward adjustment is warranted because of the long duration of Mount Rushmore’s failure to create and make available issues/programs lists in the … public inspection file, which has continued for the entire length of the current license term.”
The upward adjustment was to $15K, and multiplied by four similar infractions, Mt. Rushmore is on the hook for a notice of apparent liability totaling $60K. It has the option of either paying the penalty or appealing.
Mt. Rushmore has also been ordered to submit a statement to the FCC, on penalty of perjury, that it has brought each station into compliance with the rules.
RBR-TVBR observation: It really in incumbent on every station to make sure there is somebody on staff who is both aware of the rules and regs and responsible for seeing that they are followed. Two people, really, so when one is out for one reason or another there is always a backup to keep things current. And it will be especially critical for a strong backup if the person with primary responsibility leaves the company. It is best to be in compliance and avoid unnecessary expenses such as that now facing this licensee.