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 to consider. My presentation was preceded by a session conducted by the agent in charge of the Kansas City field office of the FCC, who emphasized the many issues that the field agents discover at broadcast stations that can lead to fines. In the week since I returned from Kansas, it seems like the FCC has wanted to demonstrate the examples given by their agent, as there have been a large number of fines demonstrating the breadth of technical issues that broadcasters can face. Fines (or "forfeitures", as the FCC calls them) were issued or proposed for issues ranging from faded tower paint, tower light outages, EAS problems, operations with excess power, and the ubiquitous (and very costly) public file violations. Fines of up to $25,000 were issued for these violations – demonstrating how important it is not to overlook the day-to-day compliance matters highlighted in my presentation.
The largest of these fines was for $25,000. This fine was imposed on a station for failing to have operational EAS equipment, not having an enclosed fence around the antenna site, and a missing public file. The fine was originally proposed in a Notice of Apparent Liability (the first step in imposing an FCC fine, when the FCC spells out the apparent violation and the fine proposed, and the licensee is given time to respond to the allegations), released in July (see our post here). The licensee failed to respond to the Notice of Apparent Liability, thus the fine is now being officially imposed.
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