The FCC has issued a $32,000 fine to a radio broadcaster that failed to timely upload a single EEO Public File Report to five of its stations’ online public inspection files and station websites.
The stations were over nine months late uploading their 2018 EEO report. The stations said the problem was due to unintentional administrative error, and that the oversight was corrected as soon as it was discovered. The FCC was unimpressed, stating that “where lapses occur in maintaining the public file, neither the negligent acts or omissions of station employees or agents, nor the subsequent remedial actions undertaken by the licensee, excuse or nullify a licensee’s rule violation, and correcting the oversight nine months after the fact, and only three months before the next Annual Report was due to be placed in the public inspection file, does not mitigate the violation.”
The FCC also found that the failure to upload the EEO report amounted to a violation of a separate rule that requires stations to analyze their recruitment programs on an ongoing basis and address any problems they find.
While the base forfeiture for public file violations is $10,000, the FCC upwardly adjusted the penalty to $32,000 because the stations’ licensee had a prior history of rule violations, including EEO rule violations.
Broadcasters are advised to carefully monitor their compliance with the FCC’s EEO rules, including paperwork requirements, to avoid fines such as this one.
If you have questions about the FCC’s EEO rules, please contact an attorney in our Media practice group.