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One of the most complicated things about running a radio station is all of the FCC compliance issues, music licensing rules and other legal factors that you must be in compliance with. The financial and legal repercussions of seemingly minor things may be so serious that your whole station could be shut down. Luckily we have some guides, resources and links that can help you avoid fines, lawsuits lockups, station shut offs, and so on.
Keeping your station legal can sometimes seem like a daunting task. But once you know the rules of the road, you'll find that following FCC regulations isn't as hard as it looks. For a general overview of broadcasting from the FCC, find The Public and Broadcasting.
The FCC publishes a self-inspection checklist that you can use to make sure your station is running smoothly and legally. It is one of the most helpful documents the FCC produces and using it is a must for every radio station. However, it can be wordy and hard to understand at times, so we've created a guide to the checklist that explains each requirement and leaves out the mumbo-jumbo.
There are several situations where your station might need to interact with the FCC. Being able to navigate the maze of federal regulations will allow your station to focus on what's really important, producing great community radio. So, we put together a guide to some of the most common situations where your station will have to work with the FCC.
Like any significant investment, ownership of a radio license comes with a degree of liability. In the field of broadcasting, FCC forfeitures, or fines, are the primary liability your nonprofit might face. This document outlines the types of fines a station could face and how a complaint or random inspection could result in a fine.
The National Federation of Community Broadcasters website has many great legal resources, many available to non members and some more webinars and guides available just for members. They have an especially helpful guide to Music Licensing fees.
What If I am broadcasting without a License? What are the legal repercussions? Free Radio Berkeley offers many resources for unlicensed radio stations including a Legal Defense Guide- you can download it here. Please e-mail stations (at) prometheusradio.org if you are interested in our guide explaining the legal issues surrounding unlicensed radio.