There are few things scarier in broadcasting than staring down a large FCC fine. Simple, easy to overlook violations with your studio or public file can mean fines in the tens of thousands of dollars. The solution to sleepless nights, tossing and turning and worrying about an unexpected FCC visit is the MBA’s Alternative Broadcast Inspection Program (ABIP).
Through ABIP, stations take part in a voluntary inspection performed by Bob Shotwell, a licensed FCC inspector. Bob inspects each station using the FCC’s self-inspection checklist. He notes areas that a station would and would not pass and gives the station opportunity to fix the problems. Once that is done he and the MBA issue a Certificate of Compliance. This certificate, when hung in the lobby or studio keeps a station from being randomly inspected by the FCC with a few exceptions:
- “Targeted Tower Safety Inspection” (relative to tower safety issues and limited to the antenna site)
- “Complaint Driven Inspection” (any complaint initiated against a station)
- Political broadcasting or EEO materials required to be in the station’s public inspection file.
Through the ABIP program, Massachusetts radio and television stations have avoided upwards $500,000 of potential fines over the last several years. The MBA subsidizes 50% of the cost inspection for each member station, so the cost of each set of call letters is only $250; a small price to pay in order to avoid those hefty FCC fines.
If you don’t have an ABIP Certificate of Compliance hanging in your lobby or studio or the expiration of your certificate has passed. Sign up for an Alternative Broadcast Inspection today. Head to MassBroadcasters.org for the necessary paperwork.