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Texas Station Fined $7,000 for Failing to Timely File License Renewal

The FCC has fined Rufus Resouces LLC, licensee of KMFR-AM Pearsall, $7,000 for violating Section 73.3539 of the FCC’s rules “by failing to file a timely license renewal application for the station, and apparently willfully and repeatedly violated Section 301 of the Act, by continuing station operations after its license and special temporary authority (STA) had expired.”

Section 73.3539(a) of the FCC’s rules requires that applications for renewal of license for broadcast stations must be filed “not later than the first day of the fourth full calendar month prior to the expiration date of the license sought to be renewed.”

The FCC said KMFR’s license renewal application should have been filed by Sept. 26, 2016, because the station’s license expired on Jan. 26, 2017.  Instead, the FCC said, KMFR filed an STA seeking authority to remain on the air on Feb. 15, 2017, despite the fact the station’s license had expired.

In its STA request, Rufus Resources LLC said it had “inadvertently and temporarily lost sight of the exact date by which a new application for renewal of license would be due” because it had only acquired the station in 2015.  KMFR eventually filed its license renewal application on March 3, 2017.  The FCC granted a 180-day STA which expired Sept. 2, 2017.  No subsequent request for an STA was filed.

The FCC said because the station had been previously licensed, its operations after its STA expired “is not comparable to “pirate” wireless operations, which typically have been subject to forfeitures of $10,000 or higher.  Taking into consideration all of the factors required by Section 503(b)(2)(D) of the Act and the Forfeiture Policy Statement, we propose a forfeiture for the full $3,000 amount for the failure to file a timely renewal application but reduce the proposed forfeiture for the unauthorized operation from the $10,000 base amount to $4,000.”

The FCC also said it would grant KMFR’s license upon conclusion of the forfeiture proceeding because “the station served the public interest, convenience, and necessity during the subject license term.”

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