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FCC Fines AM Tower Owners

Fencing deficiencies garner penalties for WCMC, WPWC

The FCC levied two fines for tower-related violations.

The agency said Equity Communications, licensee of WCMC(AM), Wildwood, N.J., failed to enclose its tower in a locked fence.

During an inspection in 2011, agents with the Philadelphia office of the Enforcement Bureau determined the tower was in a residential neighborhood. They said in their report there were remnants of a fence but that wouldn’t restrict access to the tower.

The WCMC general manager told the agents a hurricane washed away part of the fence. The agents told the GM to either stop operating the station or erect a temporary fence.

When they reinspected, the agents found the fence in the same condition. This time they called Equity, whose president told them he was getting a contractor to install a new fence. He did follow-up and sent the FCC photos of a temporary fence.

The FCC proposed a $10,000 fine, saying Equity had committed a similar violation at WMID(AM) in Atlantic City, N.J. The fact that Equity also did not immediately correct the situation in that case shows a disregard for FCC rules, said the agency to explain why it raised the amount from the base fine of $7,000.

Equity has 30 days to appeal or pay.

The other case involves JMK Communications, which was fined $7,000 for not having a locked fence around the four-tower array for WPWC(AM) in Dumfries, Va.

During an inspection in 2011, the Enforcement Bureau agents found no fencing around the base of one structure and only partial fencing around the base of the other three. There was also no perimeter fence around the property, according to the commission.

The FCC proposed a $7,000 fine and directed the licensee to submit a sworn statement telling the commission the broadcaster is now in compliance with the tower regulations.