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Category Archives: Tower Issues

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FCC Meeting to Consider UHF Discount on National TV Multiple Ownership Rules, LPFM Window, and Tower Registration Issues

Posted in FM Translators and LPFM, Multiple Ownership Rules, Tower Issues
On September 26, the FCC will hold its next open meeting and, according to a Public Notice released Friday, will consider several issues important to different parts of the broadcast industry. For television broadcasters, there will be concerns about the proposal to do away with the “UHF discount,” which gives UHF stations a 50% discount in determining … Continue Reading

FCC Sets New Rules for Determining When New Tower Construction Triggers Financial Responsibility for Disrupting AM Station Antenna Patterns

Posted in AM Radio, Tower Issues
The rules for determining when construction of a new tower may cause a distortion of the pattern of a nearby AM station, and when the party building the new tower has a financial obligation to remedy any interference caused, were clarified by the Commission in an order released late last week. The order makes clear that all … Continue Reading

FCC Fines Up to $25,000 for Tower Issues Including Lighting and Painting Issues, Inadequate Fencing, Tower Registration in Wrong Name and No Posted ASRN

Posted in FCC Fines, Tower Issues
Failing to properly maintain a communications tower can be expensive, as a number of FCC decisions released in the last few days demonstrate. In several decisions reached in the last week, the Commission faulted tower owners for all sorts of problems – tower lights being out without letting the FAA know, faded paint, missing fencing around … Continue Reading

$11,000 Fine for Broadcast Station Tower Light Outage – FCC Emphasizes the Responsibility of Licensee To Maintain Lights if Tower Owner Does Not

Posted in FCC Fines, Tower Issues
Fines for broadcast station tower owners who fail to maintain the required lighting on their tower are not unusual. But in a decision last week, the FCC made clear that, even if the licensee of a broadcast station is not the tower owner, it still has the responsibility for dealing with tower lights that are out, … Continue Reading

$14,000 FCC Fine for Tower Violations – Obstruction Light Out, No FAA Notification and Failure to Update Antenna Survey Registration to Report New Owner

Posted in FCC Fines, Tower Issues
In a Notice of Apparent Liability, the FCC proposed a $14,000 fine on a broadcaster for a series of violations with respect to its tower. The FCC found that the station failed to have the required lights on the tower operating after sunset on at least two days, failed to notify the FAA of the outage … Continue Reading

FCC Asks for Comments on Whether OTARD Rules Should Limit Local Zoning Authority Restrictions on TV Antennas and Other Reception Devices in Common Areas

Posted in Digital Television, Television, Tower Issues
The over-the-air reception of television stations has taken on heightened awareness in recent years.  In the regulatory world, this prominence comes from the FCC’s consideration of taking back some of the broadcast spectrum for use by wireless broadband based at least partially on the Commission’s belief that broadcasters are not using that spectrum efficiently as many viewers,over the last … Continue Reading

Monitor Required Tower Lighting – FCC Proposes $17,000 Fine for Violations

Posted in FCC Fines, Tower Issues
Communications towers that are not lit as required often bring big fines from the FCC.  In two decisions released today, the Commission followed that precedent.  In one case, the FCC proposed a fine of $17,000 to a tower owner after repeated promises to fix lights that were out did not result in any resolution of the issue after … Continue Reading

Short Term License Issued to Radio Stations Because of Violations of RF Radiation Rules – Showing the FCC’s Options for Penalties at License Renewal Time

Posted in FCC Fines, License Renewal, Tower Issues
In every license renewal application, applicants must certify that their operations are in compliance with the RF radiation standards set out in Section 1.1310 of the Commission’s rules. In connection with the renewal applications of two Hawaii FM stations, the FCC issued short-term one-year renewals of the station’s licenses, rather than the normal 8 year renewals. The … Continue Reading

New FCC Rules Regarding Broadcast and Communications Towers; Further Steps Taken to Protect Migratory Birds

Posted in Tower Issues
With the recent publication in the Federal Register, several new Commission rules and policies regarding communications towers and migratory birds are now on the books, however, they are not yet effective as the collection of information still requires OMB approval.  The Commission’s new rules are an outgrowth of a decision from the Court of Appeals … Continue Reading

A Host of FCC Fines of Over $20,000 for Technical and Tower Issues – And a Presentation on How to Avoid FCC Problems to the Kansas Broadcasters

Posted in FCC Fines, Tower Issues
Last week, I did a presentation on the issues facing broadcasters at the Kansas Association of Broadcasters annual convention (a copy of the slides from my presentation is available here).  I spoke about some of the day-to-day issues that can get broadcasters into trouble, as well as some of the big policy issues that broadcasters need … Continue Reading

Buy a Station Recently? Make Sure Your Tower Registration is Updated – FCC Fines Broadcaster $3000 For Not Doing So

Posted in Tower Issues
Among the many things that broadcasters need to remember when they buy a broadcast station is making sure that the tower registration (the "Antenna Structure Registration" or "ASR") for that station is transferred along with the rest of the station assets.  Unlike most registrations and filings done at the time of the Closing of a sale … Continue Reading

Tower Lights Out, High RF Radiation, Insufficient Transmitter Site Fences – FCC Fines Up to $14,000

Posted in FCC Fines, Tower Issues
Three recent FCC cases demonstrate how seriously the FCC views tower site issues – imposing fines up to $14,000 for various violations of FCC rules.  One $14,000 fine was in a case where an AM station’s tower was enclosed by a fence that was falling down and did not enclose areas of high RF radiation as … Continue Reading

FCC Sets Comment Date on Draft Rules for Processing Tower Registrations to Assess The Impact of Communications Towers on Migratory Birds

Posted in Tower Issues
The FCC has released the comment dates for its draft rules setting out when Environmental Assessments are needed to formally evaluate the environmental impact of the construction and major alteration of communications towers.  We wrote about these draft rules here, and described their history -  growing out of concerns by conservation groups about the effects of communications towers on migratory … Continue Reading

FCC Requests Comments on Draft Requirements for Environmental Assessments of the Impact of Tower Construction – Including The Effect on Migratory Birds

Posted in Tower Issues
The question of the environmental impact of the construction or significant alteration of a communications tower has been a matter of controversy for quite some time.  Three years ago, when conservation groups challenged the FCC’s procedures on the approval of towers and the consideration of the impact that such towers have on migratory birds, the US … Continue Reading

How Much Will Tower Lighting and Painting Issues Cost You in FCC Fines? $10,000 According to Recent Case

Posted in FCC Fines, Tower Issues
FCC tower lighting and marking violations are among those treated most seriously by the FCC, given their potential for tragedy should there be an incident with an aircraft due to improper tower maintenance.  Today, in two Notices of Apparent liability, the FCC proposed fines against tower owners for such violations.  In one case, where the lights … Continue Reading

FCC Decisions Making the Life of a Tower Owner Easier – Easing Approval for Automatic Monitoring, and Making Clear that RF Radiation Standards Are Not Arbitrary

Posted in Tower Issues
Operating a communications tower can always lead to issues, but two recent FCC decisions give tower owners some degree of relief. In one decision, the Commission’s Audio Services Division rejected a petition filed against the construction of new facilities for an AM station in Wasilla, Alaska – rejecting claims that the FCC’s RF radiation standards were not strict … Continue Reading

FCC Plans Hearings on Environmental Impact of Tower Registration Program – Follow Up to Court Case on Impact of Communications Towers on Birds

Posted in Tower Issues
The FCC today announced that it will be holding a series of three hearings to assess the environmental impact of its Antenna Structure Registration (ASR) program.  The FCC is required by the National Environmental Policy Act ("NEPA") to determine if its programs have any adverse environmental impact.  In a Court decision in 2008, the US Court of … Continue Reading

$25,000 FCC Fine for Safety Related Issues – No EAS, Tower With Painting and Lighting Issues

Posted in Emergency Communications, FCC Fines, Tower Issues
In yet another example of the importance that the FCC places on emergency communications and safety issues, an FCC Enforcement Bureau District Field Office issued a Notice of Apparent Liability, proposing to fine a radio station $25,000 for violations including an EAS system that was not operational, as well as a tower that needed repainting and … Continue Reading

Non-Functioning EAS, An Unavailable Public File and Open Tower Site Gates Result in FCC Fines of $5500 and $3500

Posted in Emergency Communications, FCC Fines, Tower Issues
Earlier this week, I posted a Top Ten list of legal issues that should keep a broadcast station operator up at night.  In two orders released today, the FCC found stations where these issues apparently had not been keeping their operators awake, as the FCC issued fines for numerous violations.  At one station, the FCC found that the EAS … Continue Reading

FAA Working On Proposals to Require FAA Coordination For FM Changes Even Where There is No Change in Tower Height – Rejects That Requirement for Other Services

Posted in FM Radio, Tower Issues
In 2006, the FAA proposed requiring that many communications users seek FAA No Hazard Determinations not only before they make changes in the height of a tower, but also prior to frequency or power changes.  The FAA sought to review applications to determine if proposals would create any interference to frequencies used by the by aircraft and by the FAA for air … Continue Reading

FCC Fines for No EAS Equipment, Unreported Tower Light Outage, and No Posting of ASR

Posted in Emergency Communications, FCC Fines, Tower Issues
In two separate Orders today, the FCC issued monetary forfeitures against a cable operator for failure to install Emergency Alert System (EAS) equipment and for various tower violations.  These same violations could have been cited against a broadcaster, so these cases are instructive to both broadcasters and cable operators.  The FCC issued monetary forfeitures of $20,000 and $18,000 … Continue Reading

Planning a New Station or to Relocate an Existing One? FCC Clarifies the Need for Reasonable Assurance of Transmitter Site Availability

Posted in Tower Issues
In a decision released last week, the FCC’s Audio Division denied the application for a new noncommercial FM station which had tentatively been selected to receive a permit for a new station because the applicant did not have reasonable assurance of transmitter site availability when it originally filed its application.  This case makes clear how important that issue … Continue Reading

FCC Inspections – Transmission Site Fines for Overpower Operation, Unlocked Tower Fences, and Improper STL Operations

Posted in AM Radio, FCC Fines, Tower Issues
Last week, we wrote about the FCC fining stations for a number of violations found at the studios of some broadcast stations.  In these same cases, the FCC also found a number of technical violations at the tower sites of some of the same stations.  Issues for which fines were issued included the failure to … Continue Reading