Public Broadcasting Corp. issues report on WCQS

An audit conducted by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting found that WCQS-FM had been out of compliance with federal regulations, but it noted that the issues have now been resolved.

Broadcast to the Public: WCQS-FM station General Manager Ed Subkis says the station has taken steps to comply with federal law and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. A recently completed CPB audit concurs. File photo by Jonathan Welch

An Aug. 14 report by the CPB'S Inspector General, which was triggered by a citizen complaint, says the station had not been complying with regulations in the Communications Act of 1934 about providing adequate on-air notification of public meetings and about making publicly available financial information as well as documents and written procedures regarding its compliance with Equal Employment Opportunity regulations. Compliance with the federal Communication Act is required in order to receive annual CPB funding, and stations must submit statements that they are in compliance.

The inspector's report concludes that WCQS has come into compliance on those points since being notified, though CPB officials will have to formally confirm the findings. In addition, WCQS has submitted to the CPB a timeline of public announcements and a written plan for implementing public access to EEO and financial records.

Meanwhile, the report also found that, for an unspecified period of time prior to 2007, WCQS was without a community advisory board, a group of community members not attached to station administration that acts as a liaison between the listening public and the station. The board is required by the Communication Act, and its lack was the basis for the citizen's complaint that led to the audit by the CPB. The audit confirmed that WCQS had claimed compliance during the time that it was operating without a community board.

"We observed that WCQS did not always have an established CAB that complied with the Act and CPB requirements," the report reads. "During these time periods WCQS officials continued to certify to CPB the station's compliance with Act requirements."

The station's general manager Ed Subkis stresses that the organization has had an active community advisory board in place since 2007, though he admits that wasn't always the case.

"The CAB kind of went into a dormant stage when certain people resigned," Subkis told Xpress. "I think we have an excellent CAB now, but we were probably remiss in letting it lapse at all."

Kimberly Bowser, administrator of corporate and public affairs at CBP's Washington D.C. headquarters, indicated that it was unlikely any further action would be taken, since no such action was recommended in the report and WCQS now has a board in place.

"We at CPB can only read into or go by exactly what is stated in the Inspector General's report," she said. "Therefore, if the Inspector General thought it should be further investigated or considered, the investigator would have noted that. We can't comment on something that is not noted in the report."


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