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FCC fines Beaumont broadcaster $10,000 for tower issues

The FCC fined Martin Broadcasting, Inc. $10,000 for “willfully and repeatedly violated Section 303(q) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (Act), and Sections 17.47(a) and 17.51(a) of the commission’s rules.”

Sections 17.47 and 17.51 cover the requirements to exhibit red obstruction lighting from sunset until sunrise and to monitor the antenna structure lighting on a daily basis. 

FCC documents said Martin’s antenna structure number 1060813 is 151.5 meters in overall height “and is required to be painted and lighted.”

Responding to a complaint, the Houston FCC field office inspected the tower in late November, 2011 and “observed that the top and midpoint red obstruction lights and the three quarter side lights were not lit.”

The FCC field agent contacted the FAA and “determined that Martin Broadcasting had not notified the FAA about the light outages” but the FAA had issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) for the Antenna Structure.

The FCC said the FAA had done so internally, without notification by Martin Broadcasting.

 On Jan. 4, an agent from the Houston FCC field office telephoned Martin Broadcasting’s owner who “stated that he learned of the light outages on the antenna structure from previous voice messages left by the agent.”

He also admitted that “the lights on the antenna structure were not being observed on a daily basis, and that the structure did not have an alarm system to monitor the lights” as well as he had not “contacted the FAA concerning the light outage.”

The FCC issued a $10,000 Notice of Apparent Liability for the deficiencies on June 4 and has directed Martin Broadcasting to submit a written statement, pursuant to Section 1.16 of the FCC’s rules, “stating that the lights on the antenna structure have been restored, including the date of restoration, or setting forth the timeframe for when the lights on the antenna structure will be repaired or replaced. 

In addition, an officer or director of Martin Broadcasting shall certify that it will notify the FAA to ensure that an active Notice to Airmen remains in place for the antenna structure until the lights on the antenna structure have been restored. 

Martin Broadcasting shall also state that it complies, or describe the steps it will take to comply with the Section 17.47 monitoring requirements.“

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