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Dark Tower Beacon Could Cost CBS

KNX light was off for several days last spring

Even the biggest stations need to make sure their tower lighting is operating properly.

The FCC Enforcement Bureau has issued a $10,000 notice of apparent liability to CBS Communications Services in a tower light violation case. That entity is the registrant of antenna structure #1014523 in Torrance, Calif., used by CBS Radio’s AM station KNX.

Last May, the commission said, an employee of its Los Angeles Office saw that the top beacon of the tower at West 190th Street and Prairie Avenue was unlit at 11:20 p.m. The commission contacted the FAA Flight Service Station to determine if the outage had been reported and found it had not been; the FCC then requested a notice to airmen, or NOTAM.

The top beacon was also dark the next night, the commission staff said.

The Los Angeles agent later visited the studios of KNX in Los Angeles to look at the tower inspection logs. “The CBS tower logs showed that a NOTAM was filed on May 18, 2010, five days after the date when the tower was initially observed as unlit by an FCC agent,” it stated. Two days later, “an engineer from CBS called the Los Angeles agent and advised that the tower light on antenna structure #1014523 had been repaired and was operational. The engineer also acknowledged that the person who monitored for light outages apparently did not notice every outage evident in the system.”

The failure to maintain required lighting on the antenna structure and comply with the FCC’s tower rules “created a potential hazard to air navigation,” the commission wrote in issuing the NAL. In addition to the proposed fine, it told CBS to submit a written statement stating that the antenna structure is now in compliance.