Probe into underwriting problems reveals something deeper


The licensee of FM translators in Florida was being investigated for possible violation of both underwriting and local origination rules during the summer of 2010, and the response to the notice of inquiry was an eye-opener. The licensee said it was unaware of the violations since it had transferred control of the stations back in 2004.

David Carus and Associates is licensee of W264AS Rockledge FL and W272BA Cocoa FL, as well as of an aural studio transmitter link.

Translators are of course limited in the amount of local content they are allowed to general. The FCC said that underwriting announcements are OK for a noncommercial translator, but must be limited to no more than 30 seconds per hour. And of course, they must follow the same rules that apply to all noncommercial underwriting messages, which greatly limit what a contributor may say about itself, its products and/or services.

In Carus’ response to the FCC, he said he transferred the stations to another licensee, Community Radio Foundation of Florida Inc., which currently holds CPs for translators in Malabar FL and Marietta OH, way back on 11/19/04. Carus let it go at that, according to the FCC, neither denying nor admitting to the possible underwriting and origination violations.

The problem was that the transfer of control was news to the FCC – it had received no application and had not approved any such transfer.

The FCC and Carus have settled on the consent decree route to deal with the matter. The FCC has simply terminated the investigation and ordered Carus to undertake the usual education program and submit to compliance reporting. Both stations are currently silent, so the conditions will snap into place when they return to the air.

Carus was determined to have insufficient resources to make the traditional contribution to the US Treasury to defray the national debt that is a feature of the vast majority of consent decrees.