Off-channel translator draws fine


The FCC got involved after the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in California investigated interference with an aviation frequency. And it turned out that the culprit wasn’t a pirate, but an FCC licensee.

The Sheriff’s investigation began in March 2008 when it received a complaint that a broadcast was being heard on the aviation frequency 122.875 MHz in the Indian Wells, CA area with the same audio as KRCK-FM Mecca, CA. The Sheriff’s office contacted the FCC, which sent an agent from the San Diego office to check it out. The agent found audio matching KRCK on 109.5 MHz, 122.2 MHz and 136.1 MHZ, as well at 95.5 MHz, the frequency assigned to K238AK, an authorized translator of KRCK. As you’ve probably already figured out, the translator was the source of the spurious emissions going out on other frequencies and had to be repaired or replaced.

In July of last year the San Diego Office issued a Notice of Liability for a fine of $4,000 to KRCK licensee Playa Del Sol Broadcasters for willful and repeated violations by failing to have the translator operating properly. The licensee appealed, saying it had “promptly and fully” addressed the issue when it was discovered.

The FCC did not agree, saying it took two days after notification by the San Diego field office of the complaint before the translator was shut down. The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau, by Regional Director, Western Division, Rebecca L. Dorch, has upheld the $4,000 fine.