Commission fines SpectraSite for antenna site violation

SpectraSite Communications, a broadcast antenna site operator based in Cary, N.C., faces a $120,500 FCC fine for “its apparent willful and repeated failure to exhibit required obstruction lighting and failure to register its antenna structure” for public station WCVE-TV in Richmond, Va.

The FCC fined the company the maximum it could and indicated there would be further investigations into its practices. The commission noted that SpectraSite, which owns or manages 19,000 sites, including 8,000 towers, as well as rooftop transmission sites for broadcasters and wireless communications services, has received three fines in less than three years for at least 13 violations of antenna rules.

“We are troubled that our field agents continue to uncover additional antenna structure rules violations,” the FCC told the company. “We have previously stressed the importance of full compliance with the antenna structure rules because of the potential danger to air traffic safety, including the rules designed to enable us to readily locate antenna structure owners.”

The FCC said SpectraSite’s continuing violation of the antenna structure requirements illustrates a pattern of non-compliance with, and apparent disregard for, these safety-related rules. “Finally, SpectraSite has been warned that further violations will result in even more serious enforcement action,” the Commission said. “Accordingly, we believe an upward adjustment of the base forfeiture amount is warranted.”

SpectraSite emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy eight months ago and its chairman, Steve Clark, on Oct. 7, rang the New York Stock Exchange’s opening bell to celebrate completion of the company’s secondary stock offering and NYSE listing.

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