A Station Must Operate Within the Terms of its License

There are a growing number of instances in which stations are not operating according to the terms of their license. It may be that a transmitter or tower has been moved slightly. Sometimes stations do not work at the power levels contained in the license.

Recent cases demonstrate that stations need to operate in accordance with the specific requirements of the license. The Media Bureau recently granted an AM station a short-term renewal of two years and proposed to issue the station a $20,000 fine for operating at variance with its authorized parameters. Specifically, the Bureau found that in 1993 the station obtained Special Temporary Authority (STA) to decrease nighttime power from 5 kW (directional) to 1 kW (non-directional). The station filed for and received multiple extensions of its STA. However, despite FCC notices that the STA was expired, the station continued to operate at reduced power. Moreover, it never filed an application to modify its license.

In addition, the Media Bureau issued a two-year renewal to a daytime-only AM station and proposed to impose an $11,000 fine on a station, citing violations including the station (1) failing to obtain FCC authorization to remain silent for four months, (2) operating at variance from its authorized parameters since September 22, 2022, when an STA for reduced-power operations expired without being extended, and (3) failing to file a timely license renewal application.

You can see a more detailed discussion of this issue by noted communications attorney David Oxenford here.