North Carolina radio station hit with FCC fines


It all started with a broken fence gate lock around allowing access to one of the four towers used to broadcast WGTM-AM Wilson NC. That inspection led an FCC agent to the station’s studio, where other problems surfaced. $25K worth of problems.

The inspection of the studio, done in the company of the Spirit Broadcasting/WGTM president and general manager, turned up the absence of any EAS equipment. Then the agent was unable to determine if the station ever had EAS equipment, because there were no EAS logs and no public file to store them in.

The station offered a number of explanations – it was in the process of moving its main studio; unbeknownst to the GM, the station’s engineer had removed the EAS equipment for repairs; and it noted step by step that all of the station’s failures had been corrected.

Correcting a problem is not seen by the FCC as a reason to reduce or eliminate any financial penalties – it is entirely expected that the station will come into compliance with the rules.

In this case, the station is being told to pay $8K for the EAS violations, $7K for the fencing violation and $10K for the public file violation, and is required to a “signed statement under penalty of perjury” attesting that all of the problems have been corrected.