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Tower Violations Bring Hoffman $19,600 Fine

Tower Violations Bring Hoffman $19,600 Fine

The FCC fined Hoffman Communications $19,600 for several tower violations. Hoffman, licensee of WGGM(AM), Alexandria, Va., failed to keep a fence around its three tower array, did not install correct tower lighting and exceeded authorized nighttime power limits, stated the commission in its order.
The original proposed fine was $21,000 in September of 2002. Hoffman asked for the fine to be reduced or cancelled. It acknowledged there were gaps in the tower fencing, but said prompt attempts to repair the fence should demonstrate good faith. The agency agreed and reduced that portion of the fine.
Hoffman did not agree however, that the towers were tall enough to require lighting and challenged the FCC’s records. Hoffman also said that on previous visits from commission field agents and consulting engineers it was not told the towers needed lights. Hoffman also believed the Federal Aviation Administration would remove the lighting requirements.
Although FAA eventually removed the lighting requirement from two of the towers, the FCC said Hoffman was still in violation of the rules while the FCC’s case was being investigated so the penalty remains.
Hoffman also acknowledged it exceeded permissible field strength for operating power at night by 150%.