After nine years of litigation, the Federal Communications Commission has reduced a proposed $300,000 fine against noncommercial KALW 91.7 to just $10,000 but only renewed the San Francisco station’s license for two years instead of the customary eight years, according to The action, taken Friday (April 7) by FCC Chief Administrative Judge Richard Sippel may close a divisive chapter in the station’s history which began in 1997. That’s when a group of KALW employees asked the FCC to deny renewal of the station’s license on the grounds that management had covered up violations of hiring rules and falsified information provided to the federal agency. The group that filed the petition has since disbanded, but the case dragged on and led the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau to recommend that KALW’s license not be renewed. In its defense, KALW says new management acknowledged previous mistakes and corrected the problems. The station licensed to the San Francisco Public Schools but funded through grants and public support including 13,000 paid members. [KALW explains FCC proceedings against the station] [Chronicle 1998: Station’s license threatened by legal challenge]

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