Thursday, July 20, 2017

Alaska Radio: FCC Fines KIBH $66K For EAS Violations

The FCC has proposed fining a Seward radio station tens of thousands of dollars, over what station staff suggested might be a series of misunderstandings by enforcement officials.

According to, a Wednesday statement from the FCC announced the $66,000 fine against Kenai Educational Media, Inc., the licensee for non-com KIBH 91.7 FM, claiming that it failed to comply with federal requirements of the Emergency Alert System. EAS notifications allow government agencies to quickly relay information on disasters and public-safety events to radio and TV stations.

KIBH-FM began broadcasting in May 2013. An FCC document outlining the commission’s case said an Anchorage-based enforcement agent inspected KIBH’s main studio  on June 18 of that year.

“(Kenai Educational Media) was notified on multiple occasions by the FCC that it had programmed its EAS equipment messages for a radio station serving a different geographic area than that served by Kenai, was failing to monitor at least two EAS sources, and did not keep EAS operation information available to staff as required,” FCC officials wrote in their statement.

The station also failed to respond to queries from an FCC agent, according to the commission, and also had apparent problems with its record-keeping.

KIBH 91.7 FM (1 Kw) Red=Local Coverage

Wolfgang Kurtz, KIBH-FM’s general manager, said in a statement Wednesday afternoon that the station was still evaluating and responding to the FCC’s claims. The station’s EAS encoder had failed just before the inspection, he said, and a replacement encoder been replaced but not yet properly programmed to receive Seward’s only EAS signal from the local National Weather Service station.

The proposed FCC forfeiture order was approved by all three current members of the five-seat commission: chair Ajit Pai, Mignon Clyburn and Michael O’Rielly. Kenai Educational Media, Inc. will have 30 days to respond to the proposal before the amount of the fine is finalized.

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