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WDGR Faces $11,000 Penalty

Incomplete tower fence, nighttime operation snag AM daytimer

An incomplete fence around a station tower and not powering down at sunset may mean an $11,000 fine for WDGR(AM), Dahlonega, Ga.

The station is licensed to operate at 10 kW day except during critical hours when the station must reduce power to 2.5 kW.

WDGR must either stop transmitting at local sunset, or may operate for two hours past sunset with a reduced transmitter power of 1 watt in accordance with its post sunset authority.

Enforcement Bureau agents saw the station operate for more than two hours past sunset on two days at full power during an inspection in January.

The chief operator told FCC agents he wasn’t aware of any nighttime operations and that his assistant may have forgotten to turn off the transmitter.

The agents also said in their report the tower fence had a missing section, allowing “ready access to the base.” There was no perimeter fence, either to keep out the public.

The FCC says towers having RF potential at the base must be enclosed within a locked fence. Stations don’t need to erect individual tower fences if all the towers in the array are contained within a perimeter fence, but that was not the case here, according to the commission.

Licensee Hye Cha Kim is apparently liable for the $11,000 fine. She has 30 days to appeal or pay.