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Anchorage AM Station Fined for Fence Issues

After initial fine of $7,000, FCC reduces levy to $5,600 for 2012 infraction

Good fences make good neighbors, so the saying goes. That’s particularly true when that perimeter is surrounding a radio broadcast tower.

It’s a lesson KOAN(AM) learned the hard way. The FCC Enforcement Bureau recently fined Alaska Integrated Media $5,600 for allegedly failing to enclose the station’s antenna tower within an effective enclosure. Alaska Integrated Media owns KOAN in Anchorage.

The owner initially was fined $7,000 in 2012 after the Enforcement Bureau found that wood planks were missing from the fencing enclosing the station’s antenna.

In a petition for reconsideration to the FCC, Alaska Integrated requested the fine be reduced because the antenna structure had been inaccessible due to significant snowfall; it also argued that the penalty is unenforceable under the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement and Fairness Act of 1996. The station said that as a “small entity,” it should be exempt because the commission “never complied with its obligation under the [act] to adopt a specific policy or program concerning the reduction or waiver of forfeitures for small entities.”

The commission rejected both arguments, saying that its field agents were able to access the antenna structure on foot and that the commission has policies in place for assessing penalties for small entities.

But the commission did find that the station has a history of compliance, and reduced the fine from $7,000 to $5,600. The FCC required payment within 30 days.