Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Miles From Its Licensed Location

Before GPS, it was more difficult to plant a radio tower in an exact location. It could be done, but it required a bit more math. So it is unsurprising that a tower and therefore an antenna may be a few feet from it's intended location. But sometimes stations are much further from their authorized transmitter location. The FCC lists those locations in Latitude and Longitude. You may skate by with a couple seconds off.. but not minutes. To that end, I'm going to list off a number of NAL actions by miles of error. 

0.3 Miles  - Mt. Rushmore Broadcasting
Multiple NALs went to Mt. Rushmore Broadcasting's stations in Casper, WY for operating STLs without licenses KQLT, KRAL-AM and KIQZ. The latter of which had an STL that was 0.3 miles from it's authorized location. But these violations stretched over a period of 15 years! so the fines were doubled to a total of $20,000.

0.5 Miles - RJ's Late Night Entertainment
In 2010, RJ's Late Night Entertainment moved their 12 watt, 88.1 WHPR transmitter a half-mile without authorization. Subsequently the FCC sent over a NAL in 2011 to stop that. RJLNE plead ignorance which was as effective as you'd expect. In the 2015 sequel that and some unrelated EAS equipment and public inspection file short-comings earned them a $22k fine. the FCC actually used the word "admonish." The BDR pointed out that fine works out to about $1,833 per Watt!

0.6 Miles - Four Corners Broadcasting
In 2014 the FCC imposed a penalty of $25,000 against Four Corners Broadcasting. They had three  STL all licensed, but none of them from that location. They were over half a mile off.  So fines were handed out for KIQX, KRSJ, KIUP-AM in Durango, Colorado.

3 Miles - Hoosier Public Radio Corp
In 2013 the FCC issued another NAL to Hoosier Public Radio for $8,000 over WRFM. This discrepancy came to light in a complaint by the FAA to the FCC over interference on aeronautical frequency of 126.83 MHz. Hoosier claimed they had a STA for the location atop a farm silo, but apparently they were fibbing. The $4k fine was doubled for the extra naughtiness. Hoosier has a history of scummy behavior, this was no surprise.

15 Miles - Gila Electronics
Arizona is pretty empty. While it has an average of 55 people per square mile, about 25 % of it's population is in Phoenix. The rest is well.. desert. So some broadcasters might get temped to play loose. But still Gila Electronics was operating the STA for 100.3 KUKY in Welton, AZ (pop 2,900) 15 miles away from where it should be. They received a forfeiture Order for $3,200. That's more than a dollar per person in their whole town.

24 Miles - M.J. Phillips Communications
M.J. Phillips Communications had a studio for 1440 WJJL-AM in West Seneca NY. But their STL was licensed at a site in Niagara Falls 24 miles away on an unauthorized frequency. It was a double no-no. In 2013 the FCC sent over a notice of violation and M.J. Phillips politely ignored it. 7 months later the fine increased to $2,400 under that "willful and repeated" criteria. (This follows on the heels of a 2007 fine for operating over power in 2006.)

36 Miles!!!! - Fellowship World Inc.
I think this is a world record. Fellowship world's 89.7 WFWO in Medina, NY was operating it's transmitter outside it's own protected contour. Instead of a standard $4,000 the FCC asked for twice that due to the egregious violation. They had effectively moved the station from Medina to Buffalo!  After initially agreeing to turn off the transmitter, the station turned it back on. Their excuse for the 2012 relocation was that their landlord was removing trees was rejected.  On February 12, 2013, WFWO went silent. In November it filed an STA to remain silent. On August 26, 2014 the FCC cancelled their license.