FCC Cuts Tower Fines to $12,000 for WOCA

FCC Cuts Tower Fines to $12,000 for WOCA
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The FCC fined Westshore Broadcasting, licensee of WOCA(AM), Ocala, Fla. $12,000 for several tower violations involving ownership information, lighting and fencing. The original fine was $20,000.
The case stems from 2002 when the Tampa field office investigated a complaint that the tower had been dark for at least 6 months. Field agents also found the gate to the fence around the tower was unlocked. The station manager told the agents his service company refused to climb the tower to fix the lights because of poor structural integrity. The ownership information filed at the agency was also out of date.
Westshore did not deny the lighting violation, but was unaware of the fence and ownership violations. It asked for the penalty to be reduced because $20,000 would place a serious financial burden on the company.
Nine months passed from when the tower lights went out to the agency inspection - too long to leave the problem uncorrected, stated the commission. However, Westshore had ordered a new tower before the inspection, but it was unable to receive the okay from the city of Ocala to erect it.
While getting the new tower doesn't excuse the lengthy outage, it does show good faith, stated the agency, so it knocked off $5,000 from the fine.
After looking at Westshore's tax returns, the agency found those supported the licensee's financial burden claims with a large fine, so the FCC cut the penalty further to $12,000.

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