FCC Fines Permittee $20,000

Agency says CP KHOD changed class and built 34 miles from authorized location
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The Federal Communications Commission levied a $20,000 fine against Hodson Broadcasting, permittee of KHOD(FM), Des Moines, N.M., for operating at a power level, antenna height and structure different from what was authorized.

In 2006, the commission granted Hodson a construction permit for a Class C FM with an effective radiated power of 82 kW. The CP expired in June 2008; before the expiration, Hodson filed to move the station 34 miles to Raton, N.M. Hodson also wanted to decrease power from 82 kW to 2 kW. The FCC dismissed the modification application; it said no other modification applications were filed and no authorization for program test authority or operational authority has ever been issued by the FCC for KHOD.

In response to several complaints just days later that the station was operating from Raton, an agent from the Denver field office inspected KHOD and learned the station had no authorization to operate from that location. The agent spoke with the owner, who acknowledged the signal in Raton does not reach the authorized CP community of license of Des Moines. The agent warned Hodson about unauthorized operation, but Hodson insisted KHOD must stay on the air to serve Raton, according to the commission summary of the case.

In October 2008, the Denver field office received complaints from nearby businesses concerning interference to home electronics. Those who complained alleged that KHOD could be heard across the entire FM band.

In November, 2008, after determining that KHOD(FM)'s construction permit was in "Off Air" status and that no STA, waivers or authorization had been granted to Hodson to operate KHOD, the FCC issued a $10,000 fine. Hodson then argued that it had filed applications and STA requests to legitimize its operation and also that it could not pay the proposed fine.

In December another inspection revealed KHOD transmitted spurious signals on approximately 103.8 MHz and 106.7 MHz (KHOD's fundamental frequency was 105.3 MHz). The agency again warned Hodson about unauthorized operation.

He shut down the transmitter and told the commission he would try to get an STA to resume operation. Hodson did file an STA request, which was subsequently denied.

The FCC continued to get reports through March that KHOD was still on the air and operating at variance with its authorization. Hodson reiterated earlier arguments in its May response.

Considering the "entire record" of this case, the commission found no reduction to be warranted and ordered Hodson to pay the fine and file a report with the Denver office within 30 days detailing its compliance with its CP and the order.

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