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FCC Upholds Georgia Tower Fine

FCC Upholds Georgia Tower Fine

The FCC rejected a request by Cumulus to reduce or dismiss a $10,000 fine involving painting violations for two AM towers near Savannah, Ga.
In 2001, the agency issued a Notice of Violation, saying the towers needed to be cleaned and repainted. The company said it was getting bids and would repaint the towers. In 2002, it said it would move operations for WBMQ(AM) and dismantle the towers. In 2003, the commission fined the broadcaster, which did not contest the penalty, but asked for it to be reduced because of past good compliance. The commission upheld the fine in 2004 and said measures to correct the situation did not mitigate the fact that violations occurred. It denied the claim of past good compliance.
In 2005, Cumulus asked for reconsideration, citing “exceptional circumstances,” saying it was caught between two government agencies with differing rules. Cumulus said it needed permission from the Army Corps of Engineers to dismantle the towers, and could incur liability of more than $100,000 if it did not wait for that okay. The broadcaster also hired consultants to evaluate environmental and safety issues and determine the best way to bring down the towers. The towers were dismantled in July of 2005.
The FCC said the “exceptional circumstances” argument was flawed, that the cost and complexity of fixing a tower violation is not a basis to get relief from a penalty and it upheld the $10,000 fine.