It has been a decade since Spanish religious station “Radio Imagen 1580” KIRT McAllen-Brownsville, TX has paid its regulatory fee and the total has rung up to $36,165.23. The Federal Communications Commission tried to get the Department of Justice to take owner Bravo Broadcasting to court to collect what is owed, but DOJ lawyers declined and sent the collections job back to the FCC. In the meantime, the total keeps climbing.
The FCC says it has been waiting for KIRT’s annual fees since September 2012 when the station was to have paid $895.94. The station allegedly then skipped out on what it owed in each of the following regulatory due dates including $1,772.42 that was due in 2015; and then $5,046.91 due in 2016; $6,059.15 for 2017; $4,112.90 for 2018; $4,424.28 for 2019; $4,536.37 for 2020; $4,542.26 for 2021; and $4,775 for 2022. While the numbers may seem small to DOJ attorneys, the Media Bureau points out that additional charges will continue to accrue on these debts until they are paid in full. The Commission is also legally required to charge a 25% late penalty each year the regulatory fees went uncollected.
In an order released Wednesday, the FCC is requiring Bravo Broadcasting to file an explanation for why it has not paid its annual regulatory fees during most of the past decade – it apparently paid in 2013 and 2014 – as well as make the case for why those fees should be waived or deferred. It also warns the Commission has the authority under federal law to revoke a license for failure to pay regulatory fees in a “timely fashion.”