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Birach Garners $10,000 Tower Fence Fine

Disrepair affected WTOR(AM) in Youngstown, N.Y.

The FCC believes the fence situation around the towers for Birach Broadcasting’s WTOR(AM) in Youngstown, N.Y. was so dire the agency proposed a $10,000 fine.

The station has a three-tower array. During an inspection in October 2012, an Enforcement Bureau agent noticed nearly half the fence for the North tower was lying on the ground; he tried lifting it, but that was hard because “the grass had grown through and around the fence,” noted the agency in its report.

The agent found the gate and fence support posts for the middle tower were removed and lying on the ground. The condition of the fences meant there was unrestricted access to the tower bases which had RF potential, according to the commission.

Also, the agent indicated the fences had been in poor condition for some time and there was no perimeter fence around the property.

Birach told the FCC in November of 2012 the fences had been repaired, which the Enforcement Bureau confirmed.

That December, the Enforcement Bureau issued a Notice of Violation to Birach based on the original inspection; Birach replied that the fences collapsed that October when the station engineer was clearing brush from the tower site and the repairs took place soon afterwards.

The agency disagrees with Birach on the timing of how quickly the fences were repaired and raised the suggested penalty $3,000 to a total of $10,000 for a Notice of Apparent Liability. Birach has 30 days to appeal or pay.