FCC wake-up call for WAIC
American International College of Springfield MA owns and operates non-commercial WAIC-FM, and it has been hit with a reasonably hefty FCC fine. The underlying reason is one that all school stations should keep top-of-mind at all times.
The fines are related to filing for the station’s license renewal on time and for elements missing from the station’s public file.
The file omissions were extensive, and the FCC ended up slamming the station not only with a $13.5K fine, it gave it a short license which will require renewal in only four years. It had been a student-run operation, but had not been under student control since 2011 so was not eligible for any possible discounts on that count.
The station’s regulatory deficiencies are said to date back to 2007.
The faculty advisor for the station departed in 2011, at which point the station began airing programming provided by Connecticut Public Broadcasting, Inc.
In explaining the short-term license, the FCC said the station’s attitude toward its public file requirement was “cavalier.”
RBR-TVBR observation: The obvious lesson for student-run stations is to have a faculty advisor backup plan. Departures are not always planned; regulatory obligations continue without pause nevertheless.
And we’d also suggest that some effort is made to assure that the faculty advisor fully understands what that means. Apparently that wasn’t the case in this instance.