WRDQ-DT Cited for Unauthorized Operation on Channel 14

The FCC sent WFTV-TV Holdings, licensee of WRDQ-DT, a Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL) for $10,000 for beginning DTV broadcasting on Channel 14 without first complying with the terms of its construction permit.

The construction permit for WRDQ-DT contained a condition that required the station to submit documentation with its request to begin operation that no interference would be caused to land-mobile operations in the 460 to 470 MHz band and specifically stated "Program tests shall not be commenced under Section 73.1620(a) of the Commission's Rules and may only be started after specific authority is granted by the Commission."

Instead of complying with this provision, the station completed construction on July 22, 2002 and advised the FCC by letter that it had commenced program tests. A license application was filed on July 24, 2003 stating the station was operating under program test authority (PTA). According to the FCC letter to WFTV-TV Holdings, John Demshock, the station's chief engineer advised the commission that the licensee had failed to submit the necessary documentation relative to interference to land-mobile stations in a request for PTA. According to the letter, "He stated that Licensee concluded that the station would not pose any risk of interference to land mobile operations and, as a result, it was not necessary to first seek PTA before commencing operations. Demshock states that Licensee should have disclosed these conclusions, and Licensee then requested a waiver of the Commission's rules 'to the extent necessary to continue operating WRDQ-DT until action on the license application.'" However, on Feb. 13, 2003 WRDQ-DT requested an STA to cease operations on Feb. 27, 2003 stating that land-mobile stations had reported objectionable interference.

The FCC determined "that from at least July 22 through Nov. 27, 2002 (when it first sought a waiver of the rules), and continuing until at least Feb. 27, 2003, when it ceased operating, Licensee willfully and repeatedly violated Section 73.1745 of the Commission's rules by operating WRDQ-DT without prior Commission approval or authority."

More information is available in the FCC letter to WFTV-TV Holdings.