Pay up, or lose your license. That’s the message the Federal Communications Commission has given to a pair of broadcasters in Georgia and North Carolina. It’s part of a crackdown by the Media Bureau going after stations that have been delinquent in paying their annual regulatory fees.
The FCC has told Livingston Fulton that if he doesn’t pay the regulatory fees owed on sports WSRA (1250) in the Albany, GA market that it will have no option but to revoke its license and the station will be forced to sign-off. The FCC says Livingston failed to pay regulatory fees for 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2018 totaling $13,804, including interest and late-filing fees. Under federal statute, the FCC is required to assess a penalty equal to “25% of the amount of the fee that was not paid in a timely manner.”
An order adopted Tuesday says the agency previously transferred debt collections to the U.S. Treasury Department. But the FCC then decided it wanted to consolidate the collection process and it regained control of the case since its threat of license revocation was seen as a powerful tool in securing the money owed to the government.
Also coming under the gun is Durlyn Broadcasting, which the Media Bureau says hasn’t paid the annual regulatory fees for AC “Magic 95.9” WPNC-FM, Plymouth, NC for 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018. Its past-due bill totals $11,560, also including interest and late fees. The FCC’s order notes “additional charges will continue to accrue on these debts until they are paid in full.”
The Media Bureau has toughened its approach to delinquent stations in recent months. In April it issued three warnings against three stations in Illinois, Louisiana and Massachusetts which failed to pay their annual regulator fees.