The FCC has fined a broadcaster over $1 million for failure to properly monitor antenna structure lighting. As part of a consent decree, Scripps Broadcasting Holdings agreed to pay $1.13 million and to implement a wide-ranging compliance plan.
The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau began investigating the tower lighting monitoring practices of Cordillera Communications, which Scripps acquired, after a small plane collided with an antenna structure located in Louisiana that was owned by Cordillera. The investigation found deficiencies in Cordillera’s monitoring of tower lighting systems, failures to maintain proper records of lighting failures, and failures to notify the FCC about changes in tower ownership.
Under the FCC’s rules, antenna structure owners must monitor the status of a structure’s lighting system by either making daily observations of the lights visually or by using an automatic indicator system, or by maintaining an automatic alarm system to detect and indicate failures of tower lights. Tower owners must maintain a record of any extinguishment or improper functioning of a structure light, and must notify the Federal Aviation Administration about certain lighting failures. Owners must also notify the FCC within 5 days of any change in structure height or change in ownership.
If you have questions about the FCC’s rules regarding monitoring of tower lighting, please contact any attorney in our office.