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Kansas LPFM Hit With $2,500 Penalty for Antenna Construction Error

Here's why you should double check your build plans

Regardless of the reason, a station must remain in compliance with its operating parameters. Or a civil penalty may be around the corner. 

That’s the lesson a low-power FM station in Kansas learned after it found its antenna was constructed at the wrong height. In February 2021, Sunflower Community Action filed an application to renew the license of KYOM(LP) in Wichita, Kan. In its application, the licensee revealed that the station’s antenna has been constructed at the wrong height — at 13 meters above ground level instead of the 24 meters that was authorized by the Media Bureau. 

After the station discovered the issue, Sunflower sought authority from the commission to remain silent and to operate the antenna at the lower level of 13 meters. FCC rules state that any change in antenna height of more than 2 meters above or 4 meters below the authorized value requires authorization from the commission. 

And, as the bureau has reminded stations before, a licensee is responsible for maintaining and operating its broadcast station in a way that complies with the original authorization. 

In an order released on Nov. 14 by the bureau, Sunflower acknowledged the violation and agreed to enter into a consent decree with the FCC, including submission of a civil penalty payment of $2,500 within 30 calendar days. If Sunflower abides by the stipulations laid out by the consent decree, its license renewal application for the station will be granted.

[Related: “LPFM in Queens Hit With FCC Penalty“]