Tower operators in Texas and Oklahoma are learning the hard way that they have to make sure their structures maintain a high level of visibility. Failure to keep their structures clean and painted is resulting in hefty punitive liabilities.
One operator is CBTR Services of Bridgeport TX. FCC agents visited the facility “…and observed that the structure’s paint was extremely faded and rusted in several areas, reducing the structure’s visibility. The agents were unable to distinguish the alternating bands of paint on the Antenna Structure from a quarter of a mile from the Antenna Structure.”
CBTR admitted that it had not painted it since buying it in 2010, and also admitted that the last time it had been painted by a previous owner was 12 years in the past.
The other facility, owned by Allegiance Communications of McAlester OK, was in a similar state. The FCC said agents visited “…and observed that the structure’s paint was extremely faded, rusted, and washed away in multiple areas, leaving the metal exposed and reducing the structure’s visibility. Further, an agent from the Dallas Office was unable to distinguish the alternating bands of paint on the Antenna Structure from a quarter of a mile from the Antenna Structure.”
Allegiance had no idea when it had last been painted.
Each tower operator has been hit with a Notice of Apparent Liability for $10K.
RBR-TVBR observation: We are often amazed at the pricing menu for various FCC infractions. This particular infraction is priced the same as a public file violation, say, forgetting to file issues/program lists.
While the omission of the lists is regrettable, at least the inability to see them is not going to bring down an aircraft!
Still, broadcasters pay peanuts compared to other violators. Send out a junk fax and you’re talking a five figure fine, if we remember correctly, and the total fine mushrooms quickly, because the FCC charges for each single illegal transmission. Broadcasters rarely get into the same punitive territory as spam faxers.