The Federal Communications Commission has issued a $25,000 fine against A Radio Company Inc., operator of the WEGA 1350 AM radio station, for failing to uphold an agreement entered into between the parties last year through which the Vega Baja operation agreed to pay $8,000 for violating agency rules.
Gerardo Angulo, who has owned and closed several media outlets on the island — including the former The San Juan Star newspaper and celebrity magazines TV Guía and VEA — owns the radio station known as “Nueva Victoria,” dedicated to religious programming.
In its scathing order, the FCC had harsh words for the local company and the reasons it gave for not paying the fine agreed to in May 2008, when the FCC determined A Radio Inc. was violating agency rules by raising unauthorized towers.
In a response to the FCC, A Radio Inc. representatives claimed the company was not able to pay the $8,000 fine, saying, among other things, that Angulo — the station’s sole owner — had closed down other businesses, filing for bankruptcy for most, ending up with $70 million in debt and nonexistent cash.
While the FCC said it took into consideration the company’s financial situation when it levied the initial fine, it also said failing to honor a negotiated payment agreement is a “serious” matter. A Radio’s apparent “willful and repeated” violations of the decree’s terms prompted the FCC to more than triple the original penalty.
“Nothing on the record in this case, including A Radio’s ability to pay claim, warrants any leniency or mitigation of the proposed forfeiture amount,” the FCC said. “Considering the entire record and the statutory factors listed above, we find that A Radio is liable for a forfeiture in the amount of $25,000.”
The company has 30 days to pay the fine.