- Associated Press - Thursday, January 7, 2016

DOVER, N.H. (AP) - The Federal Communication Commission has reached a $540,000 settlement with the former owner of a New Hampshire radio station that broadcast announcements supporting the Northern Pass project without identifying the sponsor.

The FCC says its settlement with Cumulus Media is the largest ever involving a single station for violating sponsor identification laws.

The investigation focused on 178 announcements aired by Dover radio station WOKQ-FM between May and October 2011. The announcements didn’t say they were sponsored by the company proposing the contentious $1 billion project to run power lines from Canada to southern New Hampshire.

FCC officials say Cumulus will also enter into a compliance plan governing 195 stations nationwide.

A spokesman for Atlanta-based Cumulus, which sold the radio station in 2013, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Hartford, Connecticut-based Eversource wants to run a 192-mile transmission line from Pittsburg to Deerfield, carrying 1,090 megawatts of Canadian hydropower to New England. Backers said it will create jobs and lower costs in a region that pays the nation’s highest average cost for electricity. Opponents have argued it will hurt property values, tourism and the environment.

“Radio and television stations that are paid to air any announcements or other content are required to clearly disclose the payer’s identity,” said FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Travis LeBlanc. “While failure to disclose these identities generally misleads the public, it is particularly concerning when consumers are duped into supporting controversial environmental projects.”

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