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FCC Proposes Fines for Renacer, Debut

Unlit, unpainted tower, lack of working EAS gear trip up companies

Failure to paint and light its tower tripped up Renacer Broadcasters Corp. for a possible $20,000 fine while the FCC proposed a $15,000 penalty for Debut Broadcasting Mississippi, Inc. for emergency alert system violations and operating with daytime power and in daytime mode at night.

Renacer owns antenna structure #1230863 in Maricao, Puerto Rico.

Responding to a complaint, an Enforcement Bureau agent inspected the tower and found the structure had never been painted and had no lights installed. Because the tower had been that way for more than 10 years, the commission found the violation to be egregious and doubled the proposed penalty to $20,000.

Renacer has 30 days to submit a sworn statement certifying that the tower is in compliance with FCC rules and also to appeal or pay the penalty.

The other case concerns Debut Broadcasting, former licensee of collocated WLTM(FM) and WNIX(AM), Greenville, Miss., which were sold to Delta Radio Network in December 2011.

WNIX(AM) is authorized to operate at 1,000 watts during the day and with reduced power in a directional mode at night.

In response to a complaint of overpower nighttime operations, agents from the Enforcement Bureau’s New Orleans office monitored the field strength of WNIX’s transmissions before and after sunset on Nov. 7 and 8, 2011. The agents observed no noticeable change in field strength on either day, according to the commission’s account.

On Nov. 9, the FCC inspected the stations with the operations manager who told the agents the station could not change to nighttime mode.

Additionally, a switching device that allowed the two stations to share an EAS encoder with a third station wasn’t working, leaving WNIX and WLTM with no operational EAS equipment. The ops manager told the agents it had been some time since the stations had had working EAS gear. Neither stations had EAS logs documenting when the EAS equipment had last worked, according to the commission.

Debut has 30 days to appeal or pay the fine.