FCC NAL for failure to have EAS unit working... for 6 years!

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NECRAT
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FCC NAL for failure to have EAS unit working... for 6 years!

Post by NECRAT » Wed Nov 17, 2010 12:22 pm

Thanks to Barry Mishkind for this one:

http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/a ... 2156A1.pdf
The agents observed that the station’s EAS equipment was inoperable because the power cord was disconnected. Mr.
Smith stated that the EAS equipment became inoperable sometime between the year 2000 and the year
2006 and had remained inoperable since then. Mr. Smith said that he tried to hire a contract engineer to
fix the EAS but the engineer was too busy to conduct the repairs.
Among the other violations, including the unlit tower and missing issues/programs list.
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Re: FCC NAL for failure to have EAS unit working... for 6 ye

Post by TheSigma » Thu Nov 18, 2010 7:39 am

Interesting. I'm pretty new to all this FCC stuff, so I read the whole NAL, and it seems to me (maybe I missed it) that nowhere does it actually say that he is required to correct any of the problems.....I'm sure they would be glad to fine him again, even more since this would then show a greater history of negligence.....

So does he get some time to fix it? or can they just send some more agents out next week to fine him again?

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Re: FCC NAL for failure to have EAS unit working... for 6 ye

Post by BroadcastDoc » Thu Nov 18, 2010 9:05 am

It says at the end how long he has to respond - I think it was 30 days.
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Re: FCC NAL for failure to have EAS unit working... for 6 ye

Post by techboywi » Thu Nov 18, 2010 10:24 am

Toward the end it says:
We direct Mr. Smith to submit a sworn statement within thirty days of release of this NAL
describing the specific action(s) taken to correct each of the cited violations and preclude recurrence, and
specifying when the corrective actions were taken.
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Re: FCC NAL for failure to have EAS unit working... for 6 ye

Post by Deep Thought » Thu Nov 18, 2010 3:04 pm

TheSigma wrote:So does he get some time to fix it? or can they just send some more agents out next week to fine him again?
About the only way to make this worse is to not reply. That'll get your license pulled eventually.
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Re: FCC NAL for failure to have EAS unit working... for 6 ye

Post by TheSigma » Thu Nov 18, 2010 6:43 pm

oops, my eyes must have been tired by the time I got to the end.....my apologies.

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Re: FCC NAL for failure to have EAS unit working... for 6 ye

Post by boiseengineer(old) » Thu Nov 18, 2010 11:05 pm

"About the only way to make this worse is to not reply. "
Or if they reply that they haven't done anything!

Does look like nothing they say or do will reduce the amount of donation to the U.S. Treasury.

I do laugh at some of the excuses people come up with trying to get out of trouble.

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Re: FCC NAL for failure to have EAS unit working... for 6 ye

Post by PID_Stop » Fri Nov 19, 2010 12:37 pm

Yeah, my jaw dropped when I read this. It absolutely floors me that anybody spending the money to buy a station would be so ignorant of basic FCC regulations that their station is required to meet. One would think that the process of purchasing an existing station or starting up a new one must have involved an attorney to handle the FCC paperwork... so how would he not have made sure that the licensee (especially a first-timer, if that was the case) knew what would be needed legally? Aside from professional responsibility, one would think the lawyer would try to position himself to get the ongoing legal work. :roll:

I suppose this ignorance should not be the surprise it is: not that many years ago I warned one of our folks that we could not air a commercial because it violated the FCC's regulations concerning promotion of lotteries. She told me I was wrong, that the spot was for a car dealer and not the state lottery, and should air. When I explained about the rule and the criteria that apply -- chance, consideration, and prize -- she got an ugly look and demanded to know when I studied FCC law. About 1982, I said: back when I had to pass the test for my FCC first phone.

"You had to pass a test to use a phone!?"

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Re: FCC NAL for failure to have EAS unit working... for 6 ye

Post by PaulBWalkerJr » Sun Nov 28, 2010 9:30 am

Deep Thought wrote:
TheSigma wrote:So does he get some time to fix it? or can they just send some more agents out next week to fine him again?
About the only way to make this worse is to not reply. That'll get your license pulled eventually.
I know .. in fact, I worked.. for a station whos problems were as bad as KANR and went on as long as KANR's. This station I was at had some problems even worse then KANR.

It took a few years, but the license finally got deleted.

The station I worked at.. lets see...........No EAS, incompletely public file, tower fencing violations, running over power, not signing off on time, not filing a license renewal (they filed it 2 1/2 years late).. not filling ownership reports. Operating for 2 weeks without an STA while they awaited a license renewal decision.

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Re: FCC NAL for failure to have EAS unit working... for 6 ye

Post by okcradioguy » Thu Mar 22, 2012 3:41 pm

Stuff like this happens more often that we realize. One fatal error this guy made, other than not "taking care of business" in the first place, was to admit he didn't have a working box for six years. I would have told them that "it appears our unit has failed and we have taken steps to become in full complience of the rules." I wouldn't give them any more info to chew on. If they demand logs up to two years or less, give them what you have. Otherwise, too damn bad FCC. They can get him for the two years of wilful and repeated, but nothing more at that point. People need to be real careful what they offer the FCC anymore. Try to admit nothing if at all possible.

The FCC is going to make a project of him just based on the fact they found something to hammer him with. I wouldn't make their "job" any easier.

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Re: FCC NAL for failure to have EAS unit working... for 6 ye

Post by BroadcastDoc » Thu Mar 22, 2012 6:23 pm

I'm not sure that would help you though. If you can't prove that the thing ever worked during the license period, it won't matter if it was two years or six years - the fine will usually be the same.

I don't recommend offering any information that isn't asked of you, but I totally believe in being completely upfront when it comes to found issues. You don't want the inspector thinking that you're being evasive on top of everything else.

Also, if your state has it - get signed up for the alternative inspection program. Not only is it good "insurance", it's very helpful to have another set of eyes looking at your facility. The inspector will point out what might be wrong, or simply a better way to be compliant. For example, my inspector thought my station logs were fine, but had a recommendation to change some wording to be more specific on our unattended operation. As he put it "these are fine, but adding this should eliminate any ambiguity." Great advice, and now I'll sleep a little better at night! :)
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Re: FCC NAL for failure to have EAS unit working... for 6 ye

Post by PID_Stop » Fri Mar 23, 2012 7:00 am

okcradioguy wrote:Stuff like this happens more often that we realize. One fatal error this guy made, other than not "taking care of business" in the first place, was to admit he didn't have a working box for six years. I would have told them that "it appears our unit has failed and we have taken steps to become in full complience of the rules." I wouldn't give them any more info to chew on. If they demand logs up to two years or less, give them what you have. Otherwise, too damn bad FCC. They can get him for the two years of wilful and repeated, but nothing more at that point. People need to be real careful what they offer the FCC anymore. Try to admit nothing if at all possible.
This bothers me on several levels: the most relevant is that this is poor advice. Pragmatically speaking, the FCC can and will consider how responsive and forthcoming station personnel are in dealing with problems; when I read this post, the phrase "lack of candor" immediately came to mind. As some have discovered, this is a dangerous and potentially expensive way to go.

On a more personal level, it runs counter to the very ethos of the licensed broadcast engineer that I grew up with (both of my parents were broadcasters as well). You work hard to learn your craft, study to pass all of the elements for the first phone with broadcast endorsement, make diligent effort to run a clean station, and prepare yourself for the inevitable problems. And when problems do happen, you figure them out, fix them, and try to prevent them from happening again. It seems to me that trying to ignore or conceal noncompliance defeats the purpose of being an engineer in the first place (but it might be a useful attribute for a lawyer :wink: ).

Regards,

Jeff

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Re: FCC NAL for failure to have EAS unit working... for 6 ye

Post by kcbooboo » Fri Mar 23, 2012 1:55 pm

Unfortunately, the licensed broadcast engineer at most stations is a thing of the past. Sure, they're needed for things like pattern changes, but routine day-to-day operations can be done without them, thanks to the FCC's deregulation. So a lot of stations save money and don't hire the licensed knowledgeable guys with high standards. It boils down to the almighty buck, and if station management can save some, it's that much more for their pockets. If they dodge the FCC bullets, so much the better. It's a risk: gambling whether it's cheaper to do nothing and pay the piper if/when you get caught, vs spending money now to avoid the possibility of the fine. Colleges teach business majors to make a quick buck and move on, leaving a trail of failed businesses in their path, and they're doing an excellent job of it.

It's one thing to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, but once in a while you have to know when to keep your mouth shut.

Bob M. (one of those unemployed 1st class phone licensees from 1969)

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Re: FCC NAL for failure to have EAS unit working... for 6 ye

Post by Deep Thought » Fri Mar 23, 2012 11:11 pm

PID_Stop wrote:the phrase "lack of candor" immediately came to mind. As some have discovered, this is a dangerous and potentially expensive way to go.
This is indeed the second fastest way to lose your license, right behind being convicted of a felony.

If you piss off the EB and the inspector thinks you are trying to hide something, they will exercise their authority to request that you provide proof of the most recent proper operation. There is no statute of limitations. If you can't prove you were in compliance (to use an extreme example) since 1990 you will be cited for 22 years of willing and repeated violations.

There is a fine line between the excellent advice to just answer the questions and not babble on (good advice on the witness stand too) and trying to cover up obvious violations.
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Re: FCC NAL for failure to have EAS unit working... for 6 ye

Post by Dale H. Cook » Sat Mar 24, 2012 3:21 am

kcbooboo wrote:So a lot of stations save money and don't hire the licensed knowledgeable guys with high standards.
I would note that the three stations in my market who have had NALs in recent years do not, AFAIK, employ engineers who have held a first phone. A fourth station that does not, AFAIK, employ a first phone is an NAL waiting to happen, frequently operating at about 1% of day power because they will not replace a ~40 year old main transmitter that frequently fails. They also have a tower that looks like it is mostly rust - one day it will fall on the transmitter building.
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