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RFR Violations Garner KTMN $25,000 Fine

RFR Violations Garner KTMN $25,000 Fine

The FCC fined A-O Broadcasting $25,000 for violating radiofrequency radiation exposure limits and other violations, including failure to: install EAS equipment, have a main studio and failure to have adequate transmission system control.
In 2001, the commission received a complaint that KTMN(FM), Cloudcroft, N.M. was not operating at authorized power and exceeding allowable RFR limits. Field agents inspected the antenna, mounted on an observation tower for the U.S. Forest Service. Measurements taken by the field agents showed the antenna transmitting at only 40% of its authorized power – creating RFR fields that exceeded the RFR exposure limits by more than 300% on the tower and in areas outside the fence surrounding the tower that were accessible to the public.
A-O admitted the most power the station achieved was 60% of its authorized 100 kW power. The owner claimed the transmitter building was a temporary main studio while another building was being renovated.
The field agents noted the transmitter building was within a locked fence, inaccessible to the public and large enough for only one person. The field agents saw a box of uninstalled EAS equipment in the building. The owner had no remote monitoring equipment or remote control for the station. He told the agents he listened to the station on a consumer receiver from home to see if it was on the air.
In Nov. 2001, A-O notified the commission the station was off the air due to a computer failure and would remain silent to improve its facilities. It then sought permission to remain silent for several months after the forest service requested the transmitter and antenna bays be removed for safety reasons.
In 2002, the agency fined A-O $28,000. A-O fought the fine, saying the violations “do not relate to silent stations,” that its previous compliance record was good and had no money to pay any fine amount.
The FCC said that as a new station with only 44 days on the air, KTMN could not claim to have “a history of overall compliance.” The commission found that A-O had enough financial resources to pay the fine although the commission did reduce the penalty $3,000 because the station bought EAS equipment.
The FCC now considers A-O the former licensee of the station, because the facility has remained off the air for 12 straight months.
A-O has 30 days to pay.