Commission proposes significant fines for RF violations at Mt. Wilson

For the first time, the FCC has proposed fines, or “forfeitures,” against four broadcast licensees—including Telemundo’s KWHY-TV—for violating the maximum permissible exposure limits for RF radiation.

The violations took place at Mt. Wilson, in Los Angeles, Calif., a multi-user site where the power density level produced by each individual licensee was within acceptable limits, but the cumulative effect exceeded the limits established by the Commission. The FCC proposed a forfeiture of $10,000 for each station, for a total of $40,000.

FCC rules establish maximum permissible exposure (MPE) limits for radio frequency radiation (RFR) from FCC-regulated transmitters. If these limits are exceeded due to the cumulative RFR emissions of multiple transmitters, as they do at Mt. Wilson, then all of the licensees whose transmitters produce power density levels exceeding five percent of the power density exposure share responsibility.

FCC agents inspecting the Mt. Wilson transmitter site determined that RFR levels in a publicly accessible area, located approximately 100 feet from a U.S. Post Office, exceeded the maximum permissible exposure limits by 60.5 percent.

Measurements taken by the agents revealed that transmitters for the four stations, KBIG-FM, KKBT-FM, KRTH-FM, and KWHY-TV, each were producing RFR power density levels at significantly more than five percent of the public limits in the area.

In addition, the agents found that the licensees of the four stations failed to take adequate steps to prevent the public from accessing areas that exceeded the RFR exposure limits. Shortly after the violation was brought to the stations’ attention by the FCC, however, the broadcasters took steps to limit public access to the area.

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