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Slow Tower Light Repairs Trip Up Union

Commission proposes $15,000 fine

The commission found Union Broadcasting apparently liable for a $15,000 fine for repairing tower lighting too slowly.

Union owns a five-tower array for WHB(AM) in Nashua, Mo. The FCC is zeroing in on one of those, antenna structure number 1014880. During an inspection in 2012, an agent from the Enforcement Bureau’s Kansas City office found that all the lights were out on this particular tower. Union told the FCC the broadcaster had initially reported the outage to the FAA in August of 2012, and every two weeks after that.

In November of 2012, the Kansas City office issued a Notice of Violation for failing to repair the lights “as soon as practicable,” according to the commission.

Union said the repair was complicated because of problems resulting from a copper theft and concerns about the antenna modifications creating changes to its nighttime pattern. But the repairs were done as of December, 2012, according to the broadcaster.

In assessing the proposed fine, the agency said Union didn’t provide a good explanation as to why it took two years to repair the tower lights. The commission raised the amount from the base fine of $10,000 because it believes the fact that the lights were out for so long demonstrates a “complete disregard” for commission rules.

Union has 30 days to appeal or pay.