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FCC Upholds $13,000 in Tower Fines

Texas owner penalized for not lighting, painting violations

The FCC has upheld a $13,000 fine for tower owner James Davis for several violations relating to the structure’s visibility as well as not notifying the commission that the structure’s ownership had changed.

Davis was originally fined in May. The FCC said this week that Davis has not responded to the original notice about the fine, which has now progressed to a forfeiture.

The tower in Hearne, Texas caught the Enforcement Bureau’s attention in 2009 when an agent in the bureau’s Houston office noticed on several occasions the paint was faded and the red obstruction lights were out at night. The FAA had not been notified that the lights were out so the agent informed the FAA, which issued a Notice to Airmen about the outage.

The commission also learned that Clear Channel, which had acquired to tower from Equal Access Media in 2006, sold the tower to Davis in 2008. The tower site has no studio and the site facilities that came with the tower have remained vacant, according to the commission. Davis was not listed as the owner in the agency’s database.

By March 2010, the FCC had issued a citation to Davis for failing to have the tower cleaned and painted, failing to repair the light outage and failure to report the ownership change. The agency said Davis signed the certified mail receipt for the citation, but did not actually respond to it.

In October 2011, an Enforcement Bureau agent reinspected the structure and saw no change. As of this March, the FCC’s Antenna Structure Registration database still didn’t list him as the owner.

This week, the FCC reaffirmed the fine, which Davis has 30 days to pay. He must also submit a sworn statement to the Enforcement Bureau specifying what steps have been taken to bring the tower into compliance with the FCC’s lighting and painting rules.