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Steckline Faces a Possible $27,000 in Fines

Apparent violations concern two AMs in Kansas

Steckline Communications faces a possible $27,000 in fines.

The FCC issued two proposals; one for $20,000 in possible penalties for failure to have a fully staffed main studio, and failure to maintain and make available a complete public inspection file at KYUL(AM), Scott City, Kan. The other $7,000 proposed fine involves failure to maintain an effective fence around the tower for KIUL(AM), in Garden City, Kan., according to the agency.

An agent from the Kansas City office of the Enforcement Bureau tried to inspect the KYUL main studio last July, but couldn’t find it. The agent did find the station’s public inspection file at an insurance company in Scott City, but the file had no documents dated later than 2009.

Steckline conceded that when the agent visited there was no KYUL main studio, which “became completely unstaffed in April 2011,” the broadcaster told the FCC. Steckline said the missing documents from the public inspection file were an oversight and that it had placed an ad in the local paper listing the insurance company as the location for the station’s public file.

Steckline discontinued KYUL operations last July because it can’t maintain a properly staffed main studio, it told the agency. The broadcaster subsequently filed for a waiver of the main studio rule so it can collocate the main studio for KYUL with that of KIUL. The FCC accepted that request for filing this March and reminds Steckline that if the waiver is granted, the broadcaster will need to maintain a complete public inspection file for KYUL at KIUL’s main studio.

In the meantime, both the proposed fines were raised because the violations had occurred for more than a year. Steckline has 30 days to appeal or pay.

As far as the fence around the KIUL tower, Steckline told the agency it made repairs after a storm damaged the fence in 2012, and the wind must have knocked it down again before the inspector came that July. Later that month, Steckline made repairs and provided photos as proof.

The FCC said the agent noticed the fence section lying on the ground had weeds growing through it, indicating it had been down for more than one day. Steckline has 30 days to appeal or pay this fine as well.