Broadcaster Fined $25,000 for Multiple Violations

WASHINGTON: A Kansas broadcaster today was slapped with a $25,000 fine from the Federal Communications Commission for multiple violations. KANR-FM, a Spanish-language station serving the Wichita, Kan., area, was popped for inadequate maintenance of EAS gear, files and its antenna.

FCC inspectors visited the main studio March 31 and found the EAS equipment unplugged. Station owner Daniel Smith told them the gear stopped working at some point between 2000 and 2006, and had been inoperable since then. Smith said he’d attempted to hire an engineer to repair the EAS equipment, but the engineer was too busy. KANR had no logs documenting its last EAS test nor when the gear broke down.

Additionally, the station’s public inspection file hadn’t been updated since the end of 2008. FCC rules require the files to contain quarterly programming lists.

FCC field agents also visited KANR’s tower and found it “severely faded and areas of bare metal were showing,” according to the Notice of Apparent Liability. Smith said the tower had last been painted in 1996, before it was erected. FCC rules require that towers are “cleaned or repainted as often as necessary to maintain good visibility.” Agents also noted that the beacons didn’t work and the side lamps were inoperable. Smith said that no one from the station checked the tower every 24 hours as is required by FCC rules.

The basic fine for failing to maintain EAS gear is $8,000. Failure to conduct regular tests is $2,000. Failure to repaint the antenna structure is $10,000 and for not maintaining public files is $10,000. Because KANR’s EAS gear was down for so long, the FCC upped the fine to $9,000. The public file was partially maintained, so that fine was dropped to $4,000. The basic fines were levied for the remaining violations, bringing the total to $25,000.
-- Deborah D. McAdams