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FCC Fines Texas Station $6,400 for Unauthorized Operation

The FCC’s Media Bureau has issued an adjusted $6,400 fine to Wendolynn Tellez, licensee of KSAG-FM Pearsall, for unauthorized operation of a broadcast station.  The FCC cited Tellez for “willfully and repeatedly” violating Sections 73.1745(a) and 73.1635 of the commission’s rules “by operating the station at a variance from its licensed parameters without authority to do so.”  Telez was initially notified of an $8,000 forfeiture in January but noted in her February reply that she had “no history of prior violations” and requested the FCC to reduce or rescind the fine.

The FCC said “while we do not find that cancellation is appropriate, we do find that Tellez’s history of compliance warrants a forfeiture reduction.”  The FCC said Tellez failed to construct facilities authorized in a 2013 construction permit prior to its expiration in 2016.  Tellez had asked the FCC for a construction permit, an STA and channel allotment substitution for KSAG-FM utilizing 227A at Pearsall in place of Channel 277A.

The FCC granted all three, but KSAG’s delay in build out on Channel 227A had prevented another operator in the market from utilizing what should have been a vacated channel allotment it had won at FCC auction.  That operator, Alpha Media Licensee, LLC, filed an informal objection to KSAG’s license renewal, but the FCC denied the Nov. 7, 2016 objection.  Tellez subsequently applied for, and the FCC granted, a new permit in 2017 to construct facilities identical to those specified in the 2013 permit.  The FCC said “upon resolution of the forfeiture matter, if there are no other issues that would preclude grant of the renewal application”, it was the commission’s intent to grant KSAG’s license renewal.

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