Debut Fined $14,000 for WNLA Tower Light Outage

FCC, Tama reach deal on three tower light outages
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Two licensees are facing FCC penalties for tower lighting-related issues.

The Enforcement Bureau found Debut Broadcasting Mississippi apparently liable for a $14,000 fine for having tower lights out and not notifying the FAA.

WNLA(AM), Indianola, Miss. is authorized to operate at 500 watts during the day and from 70 watts to 26 watts at night depending on the time of year.

In November, 2011, field agents from the New Orleans office of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau noticed that power had not been reduced at night and that the tower lights were out. Studio personnel told the agents they knew about the outage.

Debut must certify within 30 days that WNLA is powering down at night. The licensee must also certify that its tower lights have been restored, or provide a time-frame for doing that.

Debut has 30 days to appeal the monetary penalty.

In the second case, the FCC and radio licensee Tama Broadcasting Group negotiated a consent decree that ends the commission’s investigation into whether the licensee failed to exhibit obstruction lighting as required for three structures in San Souci, S.C.

The FCC noted in the decision that the lights went out on the towers in January, 2010. Tama admitted it didn’t notify the FAA about the outage and submitted documentation showing that the company has “negligible gross revenues,” according to the commission.

The consent decree resolves the case with Tama officially admitting no wrongdoing and making a “voluntary” $1,000 contribution to the U.S. Treasury.

Within 60 days Tama must set-up a compliance plan. By Sept. 1, Tama must restore lighting on the towers and continue to notify the FAA about the outages until the repairs are made. When the lights are restored, Tama needs to hire an engineer or train its employees about how to monitor the lights.

The licensee must file compliance reports with the FCC within 10 days of tower lighting restoration and again 12 and 24 months after the consent decree goes into effect.

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