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Pittman Faces a Potential $37,500 in Fines

Lack of working EAS gear, tower lighting issues trip up Louisiana station owner

Pittman Broadcasting Services is facing a possible $37,500 in fines related to EAS and tower violations at two Louisiana stations.

The largest of the two proposed penalties is $22,500 resulting from violations at WUUU(FM), Franklinton, La.

The FCC inspected the facility after receiving a complaint that the station’s EAS equipment wasn’t working.

During an inspection last June, FCC personnel found that the operations manager couldn’t turn on the EAS equipment. He told the Enforcement Bureau agent a lighting strike had damaged the equipment, but the agent found no record of the damage in the station logs.

There was also no record of monthly EAS tests being received or retransmitted since October 2011, nor of weekly EAS tests being transmitted since May 2012.

The agent also noticed the tower paint had faded and that the top beacon wasn’t lit at or after sunset. Pittman’s owner told the agency the top beacon had been out since September 2011. He said he notified the FAA once.

The proposed fine is $4,000 higher than it would have been, because the FCC also fined Pittman for similar violations at KVOL(AM), Lafayette, La.

In that case, the FCC is proposing a $15,000 fine, because the commission says the EAS equipment isn’t working there either. During an inspection, the agent found the EAS encoder/decoder wasn’t connected to a power source, nor to receiving or transmitting equipment. KVOL’s GM and PD told the agent the station’s EAS equipment hadn’t worked since KVOL changed main studios in 2011.

KVOL also had no EAS logs, documenting when the last EAS tests were received or sent, according to the commission.

The other part of the proposed fines for KVOL concern the station operating with its daytime power — at night — more than two times what it should have been, says the agency. According to a search of the FCC’s database, KVOL is a Class B station, authorized to operate at 5 kW day and 1 kW night. The contract engineer told the FCC the station wasn’t able to monitor and control its transmission system.

Pittman has 30 days to submit written proof that the EAS gear is operational at both facilities and that the WUUU tower has been painted and a top beacon installed. He must also state that until the tower lights or repaired, or the structure is dismantled, an employee will keep the FAA notified about the condition of the tower lights.

Pittman also has 30 days to appeal or pay the proposed fines for both stations.

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