Management at WOYK-AM says that vandals are responsible for taking the screws out of the hasp securing the fence around its tower – but as far as the FCC is concerned that is no excuse. And yes, the FCC considers the fencing faux pas to be “willful.”
The fine assessed to York Professional Baseball Club, the station’s owner, was originally set by the FCC at $7K.
The station had requested cancellation of the fine because the offense was minor and, since it was an act of vandalism, was hardly willful on its part. The station also said it immediately fixed the problem once it was pointed out by FCC field agents.
The FCC disagreed. It noted that upon inspection, it appeared that the hasp had been broken for some length of time. It further noted that WOYK could produce no evidence that it was a victim of an act of vandalism, such as a police report.
More to the point, WOYK should have discovered the broken hasp due to its own regular efforts. Had it been obvious that an act of vandalism had occurred by coincidence just prior to an FCC inspection, the station might have been in line for a fine cancellation.
And the station gets no credit for quickly fixing the hasp. Licensees are expected to correct any violations immediately upon notification and get no special consideration for doing so.
However, the station has an overall record of compliance with FCC rules and regulations, and the FCC used that as the basis for a $1.4K reduction in the fine, bringing it down to $5.6K.