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The Guard Shack Caper: FCC Fines Missouri Station

The Guard Shack Caper: FCC Fines Missouri Station

Missouri station KNSX(FM) owes the FCC $18,000. The agency fined the station, owned by Twenty-One Sound Communications, for not keeping its EAS equipment operating and not maintaining a proper main studio.
As the FCC tells the tale, a Kansas City field agent inspected the main studio, which consisted of an unmarked guard shack located at the entrance to a gated residential area not far from the transmitter. The community paid for the guards, so the shack was staffed 24 hours a day.
The agency said the shack had no microphone, production or transmission equipment, and that the guard on duty said he couldn’t control the transmitter from that location.
During the inspection of the unattended transmitter site, the FCC said, its agent also found the EAS encoder/decoder set on manual mode and not able to automatically re-transmit the required weekly tests.
Twenty-One Sound alleged it didn’t break the EAS rules because its system was not functional for less than 60 days; but the FCC said in its decision there is no “free 60-day pass” to operate without functional EAS equipment.
As far as the guard shack, the broadcaster said the guard on duty during the inspection was the station manager and knew how to work the transmitter but was flustered during the inspection. Although the studio/shack had only one phone line, it argued, the guards had cell phones and could use those and also make calls from a nearby building.
The FCC said the company did not provide proof that it maintained the additional phone capacity and the main studio fine was upheld.