FCC gets tough about RF exposure
November 26, 2002
The FCC inspected KTMN-TV’s transmitter site after receiving a complaint alleging that the Cloudcraft, N.M., FM was not operating at its authorized power and was not in compliance with RF Radiation (RFR) exposure limits.
The last station to a site is always responsible for determining if any fields they add, even if it is under the 5 percent mark, will not cause the site to become non-compliant.
This is the first time that the FCC has fined a broadcaster for violating its RFR exposure rules. These rules are also known as Maximum Permissible Exposure (MPE) limits. On November 14th the station was fined $10,000 for the RFR violation.
Additional fines included:
Failure to install an EAS system: $8,000
Failure to have a main studio: $7,000
Failure to have an adequate transmission control system: $3,000
The FCC inspection found that KTMN-TV's transmitting antenna, (which is mounted on an observation tower) was mounted substantially lower than authorized by KTMN-TV’s license. FCC agents also found that KTMN-TV’s antenna was radiating at 40 percent of its authorized power. Despite operation at this reduced power level, the FCC found that RFR fields being radiated were at 300 percent of the RFR exposure limits on the observation tower and in areas outside the fence surrounding the tower that was accessible to the public.
According to the FCC RFR rules, even if a license would not cause compliance issues by itself, if it is co-located with otherd, and it contributes more than 5 percent to the applicable limit it is responsible along with all the other licenses over the 5 percent mark for complying with the RFR rules. The last station to a site is always responsible for determining if any fields they add, even if it is under the 5 percent mark, will not cause the site to become non-compliant.
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