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FCC Fines Uniradio $25,000 for Interference

FCC Fines Uniradio $25,000 for Interference

The FCC levied a $25,000 fine in a case involving an American station supplying programming to a Mexican station that caused interference to a different station in this country.
The commission fined Uniradio Corp. $25,000 for illegally providing programming from a U.S. station to one in Mexico. In 2003, Uniradio asked the agency for authority to supply San Diego Padres games in Spanish to XEMO in Tijuana, operating at 860 kHz with 5 kW power day/night and a non-directional antenna. The commission granted the application in July 2003, on the condition that the station complied with a U.S.-Mexican border interference treaty.
In December, New Inspiration Broadcasting, licensee of KRLA(AM), Glendale, Calif., asked the commission to revoke the permission, and provided supporting engineering documentation to prove XEMO was operating at 20 kW day and 10 W night and interfering with KRLA. New Inspiration argued that XEMO’s operating was not coordinated with the International Bureau.
After receiving a letter from the Enforcement Bureau, Uniradio said it learned XEMO had increased power and was operating from a new site. Uniradio said it continued to deliver the programming after finding out there was alleged interference.
By this time, the FCC and its Mexican counterpart, plus the State Department were having talks regarding the interference and Uniradio said XEMO agreed to reduce power to 5 kW until interference tests were completed.
In March of this year, NBC replied and provided evidence that XEMO’s operations overlapped KRLA’s protected city-grade contour. It also argued that XEMO’s use of a narrow bandwidth and power reduction did not resolve the interference and Uniradio should have known XEMO wasn’t coordinated with the border coordination treaty, because they share common shareholders and are both controlled by Gustavo Enrique Astiazaran.
In levying the penalty, the commission said, “we believe a substantial forfeiture is warranted” because Uniradio continued to send programming to XEMO after it was told about the interference and that the station’s modified operation was not in compliance with the border treaty. Although the station’s operations have now been coordinated with Mexico, the agency did not find that remedial measures excused the past violations.
Uniradio has 30 days to pay the fine or ask for cancellation or reduction.
New Inspiration’s petition was dismissed as moot.