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FCC Says Updating Tower Registration Data is Vital

Commission proposes fine for owner of dark AM station for not updating tower ownership information

The FCC proposed a $6,000 fine for Paulino Bernal, owner of dark station DKTUE(AM) in Tulia, Texas.

When Bernal bought the station from Dove Media in 2004, he acquired the tower, too.

The structure is a 207-foot Andrews 4-face angle iron AM broadcast tower, according to the commission.

In February 2012, an agent from the Dallas office of the Enforcement Bureau told Bernal he needed to update the ownership information in the FCC’s Antenna Structure Registration database.

As of this January, the database still listed a Dove Media executive as the tower owner. Bernal had not filed an FCC Form 854 to update the ASR records, according to the agency.

The FCC takes updates to its ASR database seriously. It says that it’s important that the information be up-to-date so both the commission and individuals can notify the tower owner if a light goes out or for another problem, according to the agency.

The base fee is $3,000. However, because Bernal didn’t notify the commission of the tower’s ownership change for more than eight years, the agency increased the proposed penalty to $6,000. He has 30 days to appeal or pay.

Bernal also has 30 days to submit paperwork certifying that he’s filed the proper FCC form to update the ASR database as well as verify he will also comply with tower painting and lighting requirements.