The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

KEMI could face $66,000 fine from FCC


The Federal Communications Commission issued a proposed $66,000 fine against Seward-based radio station licensee Kenai Educational Media Inc. last week for numerous apparent violations of FCC rules, including actions that undermine the effectiveness of the Emergency Alert System (EAS). Under FCC guidelines, broadcasters have several obligations related to EAS, a critical system for ensuring that the public can receive accurate and expedient alerts and warnings during times of local and national emergencies.

According to information from the FCC, Kenai Educational Media Inc., which operates KIBH-FM, was notified on multiple occasions that it had programmed its EAS equipment messages for a radio station serving a different geographic area than that which it actually served, was failing to monitor at least two EAS sources, and did not keep EAS operation information available to staff as required. Broadcasters licensed by the FCC have important obligations to their communities to be prepared to participate in the EAS system as needed. Most licensees take this responsibility seriously and serve their communities as key outlets for emergency warnings and alerts, but a broadcaster’s failure to meet these FCC requirements is a serious offense which can pose real dangers for their communities.

In addition to its apparent EAS violations, the FCC contends that the broadcaster violated a number of other broadcast station rules, such as maintaining required records, and failed to respond to several Commission inquiries dating back to 2013. An agent from the Commission’s Anchorage field office discovered the apparent violations and issued a notice to the licensee during a visit on June 18, 2013, and subsequently issued two violation notions and a letter of warning. Following what it says were numerous such notices and no response from the licensee, the agency announced last Wednesday that it was moving forward with the fine.

The proposed fine is formally known as a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, and the broadcaster will have 30 days to respond. The Commission will then review the response and any additional evidence, and may then proceed to issue a final forfeiture.


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