EAS, Fences and Lights Rack Up Fines
FCC levies broadcasters with penalties
March 4, 2013
WASHINGTON—Three equipment-related fines came out of the commission last week, one involving EAS, another concerning an unlocked tower fence and a third involving the lack of red obstruction lighting at night.
PBI, licensee of KDDD(AM/FM), Dumas, Texas, had told the commission it would be hard-pressed to pay an $8,000 fine. The penalty was levied last July because the EAS gear for the stations didn’t work and PBI had no records of receiving EAS tests in the station log. Based on the broadcaster’s gross revenues, the agency believes the licensee can pay the fine and said PBI can ask to make payments in installments.
A $7,000 fine against KLRG(AM), Sheridan, Ark. licensee Wagenvoord Advertising Group has progressed to a forfeiture. Wagenvoord was originally fined last July for not having a locked fence around the tower. Wagenvoord argued there was no safety hazard because the tower sits on top of a seven-foot concrete pylon with no RF at the base. Wagenvoord also disputed the commission’s assertion that its engineer admitted he knew about the fence issue for about two weeks before the inspection.
The commission wasn’t persuaded by Wagenvoord’s arguments and upheld the fine; the broadcaster has 30 days to pay.
Finally, the agency upheld an $8,000 fine against Martin Broadcasting, licensee of an AM in Beaumont, Texas for not having working red obstruction lighting from sunset until sunrise and not monitoring the lighting daily. The original proposed fine was $10,000; Martin didn’t contest the violations, but asked that the penalty be cancelled or reduced, citing financial difficulties.
The commission did cut the fine by $2,000 for Martin’s past good compliance with agency rules, however the FCC said the broadcaster has enough revenues to pay. The $8,000 is due within 30 days.