STA's and Resume of Operations

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RFBurns
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STA's and Resume of Operations

Post by RFBurns » Mon Oct 08, 2012 5:56 pm

Here's a good one to ponder. How does a station, racked with outstanding NAL's manage to convince the FCC via Resume of Operations after being ordered to shut down on August 17, 2011 after a visit, and remained off air even to this day, retain it's license even though a Resume of Operations was filed when the station remained off air since August 17, 2011 and NEVER returned to the air at all?

Acting as a regular Joe when contacting the FCC, according to the person on the other end of the call, they said "well the station is back on the air according to the records". My response was.."Really? Are you sure about that? Have you sent your field agent back out to do a simple test of turning on a radio and tuning in to KHOC to check if it is actually back on air..or are you just putting faith that the statements on that Resume of Operations are truthful and accurate?".

Needless to say...the person on the other end had nothing to say as I suspect they did not know what to say.

So this raises the question about stations getting extended STA's and making false statements on official FCC forms and why stations such as this one, and its ownership with 16 years racked up repeated violations continue to get licenses to violate the law.

Any thoughts?

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Re: STA's and Resume of Operations

Post by Deep Thought » Mon Oct 08, 2012 8:52 pm

If you're sure about this, file a formal complaint. Phone calls are not taken seriously.

The FCC only acts based on what licensees file unless they get a bona fide formal complaint that something is amiss with those filings. Considering that the penalty for lying to the FCC is perjury and can result in a license forfeiture and disqualification to be a licensee, this station's management must be seven kinds of stupid to be doing what you say they are doing. Are you sure there wasn't a day of operation in there somewhere the last 12 months?
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Re: STA's and Resume of Operations

Post by RFBurns » Mon Oct 08, 2012 10:15 pm

Deep Thought wrote:If you're sure about this, file a formal complaint. Phone calls are not taken seriously.

The FCC only acts based on what licensees file unless they get a bona fide formal complaint that something is amiss with those filings. Considering that the penalty for lying to the FCC is perjury and can result in a license forfeiture and disqualification to be a licensee, this station's management must be seven kinds of stupid to be doing what you say they are doing. Are you sure there wasn't a day of operation in there somewhere the last 12 months?
If I am sure about this? I worked for that place, live in Casper and can have 50,000 people tell you it is off the air and has been since Aug 2011. And KHOC is not the only one. KVOC, KMLD, 2 in Rawlins Wy, 2 in Custer SD, and 2 in Hot Springs SD, all off the air for over a year plus!

Oh of course I forgot, the 16 years of operating unlicensed STL's here in Casper.

BTW, I did in fact file a complaint PRIOR to making that phone call.

There was never any "24 hour" operation done within the year time frame from Aug 2011 to current. Besides that, where in the FCC rules does it state a station can fire up for only 24 hours and remain silent for the remaining 364 days of the year? Oh..could it be that temporary authorization of a Texas station that had a hard time trying to find a tower site, that ONE and ONLY special exemption on file to date and no FCC rule making ever completed to allow for the 24 hour hit and run gig?

The ownership claims financial hardship and goes on world tours to Europe, Africa and this year it's Australia. Every year he does that. Funny how financial hardship kills the radio stations but pays for very expensive vacations.

Trust me DT, this isn't an assumption. Anyone, I mean anyone can simply drive here and turn on their radios and try to tune in those stations. And of course, plenty of towns people who will say the same thing..all of them are off and have been off for over a year.

The other stations in the market have already taken up the slack of these 3 being off the air.

I just cannot understand why the FCC would take a piece of paper at it's word and for granted, with a history record of repetitive violations and outstanding NAL's totaling over 100k combined, and do nothing.

Indeed, several thousand times stupid IMO.

:x

Thanks for your input DT! 8)

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Re: STA's and Resume of Operations

Post by w9wi » Tue Oct 09, 2012 7:23 am

Really, the Commission needs to close that loophole. Something like require that a station comply with the minimum operating schedule in 73.1740 (12 hours/day except for Class D) for at least four weeks a year or the license goes away.
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Re: STA's and Resume of Operations

Post by RFBurns » Tue Oct 09, 2012 8:16 am

w9wi wrote:Really, the Commission needs to close that loophole. Something like require that a station comply with the minimum operating schedule in 73.1740 (12 hours/day except for Class D) for at least four weeks a year or the license goes away.
Indeed. The two older NAL's, ie Rawlins stations with the EAS violations, and Hot Springs with the lack of staff, access to station, EAS etc, which dates from 2008, had followup visits within a 2 to 3 month time frame. It amazes me there was absolutely no followup visit after August 17th.

The only staff member at the station during the inspection had no idea what to say or where to find things for the inspecting agent, so she called me, as she would if any problems developed since there is no one else to call. I was the one who answered and showed the agent, or showed the lack of, the items he specifically asked for. I informed him that prior to September 2008, the month I was graciously let go, I was in the process of compiling every station's records, public files, etc and taking on the task to make sure everything was in check. Unfortunately my wonderful boss thought it was a waste of time, along with the other things I was attempting to do to bring the entire Mt. Rushmore stations into compliance, was useless..so out the door I went..and not by my choice.

Here's another kicker. In November 2011, I had advised the financially burdened owner that the FCC had extended the deadline for the CAP/EAS requirement. I even still have the emails, in fact all of them. Anyway, the owner decided to blow it off until the last week of June to order the CAP decoder unit which simply plugged into the existing TFT EAS 911 box. I was informed by the owner that one had been ordered and would be delivered to the station within a week..just barely making it in time for the June 31st deadline.

I even found a place where he could order one and get it out to us quickly. I confirmed they had it in stock and could get it to us within 2 days after order payment. Informed the owner, 2 hours later he emails me back saying "It's on its way".

Well...2 days go by...3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9..oh oh 31st just a day away....10 days go by...June 31st....12 days go by...13, 14, 15..no CAP decoder.

So...being the curious engineer that I am (aren't we all? :wink: ) I decided to call the vendor. Guess what...they could not find ANY record of the CAP unit being ordered, but they did remember my previous phone conversation making sure they had it and how soon they could get it to us.

As of this date, still no CAP decoder.

But the real loss here, are the once 5 great radio stations that used to carry the top ratings in the market in this area. All picked and plucked to death by their own ownership, while that ownership lavished on 1,500 dollar nightly dinners and 300 dollar bottles of wine while viewing wonderful scenery from the 1,800 dollar a night fancy hotel rooms in Europe and Africa.

I have seen the FCC move on things FAR less than this, like take down pity Part 15 stations with a wee bit too long ground lead, or a wee bit too much field strength, and take them down with the swat team, police, DHS, ATF and FBI all tagging along for the fun. Yet here we have a major violator, and a repetitive one, who somehow manages to put the FCC into his hand and shove them into his back pocket and snub his nose up at them and the rules that all of us follow with great pains and detail. I have seen other stations (licensed) that were tagged get followup visits.

The FCC has yet to do any followup visit since the initial visit on August 17, 2011.

Prior to that visit, at least the agent inspecting the Rawlins stations and Hot Springs and Custer stations DID do a followup and found the same conditions and violations as they did on the first visits...even the Hot Springs situation with no one at the studios, doors locked, stations off the air, etc etc.

I don't know why it gets to me so much. Maybe it's the fact that all my life I have done my best for the stations I worked and contracted for and never in any of the near 40 years doing this have I worked/contracted for such a whacky operation that blatantly tells it like this...."The FCC and their rules are all a bunch of BS". (worded not abbreviated).

I really don't blame the FCC, their operations have been cut in budget so many times and in so many ways it's not funny. I have a good friend in the enforcement division and he tells me some pretty horrific stories about how they practically work with very little manpower in the field. But what I still cannot understand, after doing hours upon hours of history research spanning at least 10 years of other NAL's, this Mt. Rushmore is the ONLY one EVER to violate the rules to the extent it has, as well as get away with it and continue to be licensed and even get those STL's licensed!

How can this happen..is my question. How can such repetitive violations and outstanding unresolved/unsettled NAL fines keep going and going and going like the Energizer bunny beating it's drum and the FCC grants him on-going STA's which the owner has absolutely no intention on putting in the funding necessary to fix things, much less have them fixed, or staff the stations properly, or even PAY the single employee left what she should be getting paid. Oh should I mention the Department of Labor also has some serious issues with him over wage and hour things. They too seem to be dragging their feet with that. No telling what kind of IRS tax mess is involved, because this cat has several other businesses which they too have been left to rot and totally unsupported by that very owner.

I just don't get it. I have even tried to get other broadcasters, even contacted the Wyoming Association of Broadcasters to see if any of them would file complaints as they too were directly impacted by the grave drop in market share and loss of national ad's. The market here is just barely recovering from that impact. I was very shocked to find out that none seemed to be in the slightest interest in helping to put this endless loophole to a stop.

At this point, if something doesn't happen with it, it will give me reason to loose faith in the justice system and begin to doubt my dedication in following the rules myself. Though I won't go that far for my own well being, still it makes me wonder why any of us engineers go out of our way with such great precision and dedication to make sure our client stations are in compliance when right here is a prime example of the authority dropping the ball big time and continuing to drop that ball while handing the offender the keys to the bank vault and taking faith in the piece of paper saying he won't rob the place blind.

Like getting a get out of jail free card, passing GO to collect another license to continue to violate and earn another license to violate some more.

Why...I just keep asking myself why and sometimes it keeps me awake at night wondering how could something like this go for so long when far less violations are tagged bagged and gagged inside 6 months time frame.

Someone please point me to a logical explanation as to why! :?

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Re: STA's and Resume of Operations

Post by PID_Stop » Thu Oct 11, 2012 1:09 pm

What's missing here? From what you write, this company terminated your employment four years ago, yet you continue to involve yourself with their problems even though you believe that they are willfully operating in violation of various regulations. Why on earth would you ever want to associate yourself with such as mess -- especially in the eyes of the FCC? Seems like you are bent on taking the bulls-eye off the company's back and attaching it firmly to your own.

:?:

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Re: STA's and Resume of Operations

Post by RFBurns » Sat Oct 13, 2012 12:01 am

PID_Stop wrote:What's missing here? From what you write, this company terminated your employment four years ago, yet you continue to involve yourself with their problems even though you believe that they are willfully operating in violation of various regulations. Why on earth would you ever want to associate yourself with such as mess -- especially in the eyes of the FCC? Seems like you are bent on taking the bulls-eye off the company's back and attaching it firmly to your own.

:?:

Would you turn down revenue from one of your clients? Just because I note their violations and question the lack of action by the FCC, does not mean I will turn away from a 5 grand contract. And the reason for being involved is because I, and the 50k plus population here CARE about those 5 stations and want to see them back where they belong.

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Re: STA's and Resume of Operations

Post by Dale H. Cook » Sat Oct 13, 2012 5:56 am

RFBurns wrote:Would you turn down revenue from one of your clients?
I regularly recieve offers of employment from stations that are habitual violators of the Rules and Regs, and I always turn them down. After more than 40 years in this business I can afford to be choosy and I am. I don't work for violators, I don't work for owners with a history of not paying engineers promptly, and I don't work for stations with 30-year-old main transmitters..
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Re: STA's and Resume of Operations

Post by RFBurns » Sat Oct 13, 2012 1:40 pm

Dale H. Cook wrote: I regularly recieve offers of employment from stations that are habitual violators of the Rules and Regs, and I always turn them down. After more than 40 years in this business I can afford to be choosy and I am. I don't work for violators, I don't work for owners with a history of not paying engineers promptly, and I don't work for stations with 30-year-old main transmitters..
Normally I too would not sign on board. But when an owner is faced with no other option, and is attempting to redeem himself and retain his licenses, I find that giving another chance to even a repeating violator to correct their ways is worth the up-front remittance for helping them get things right.

No one is perfect. And everyone deserves that second chance. I'm sure everyone here has had that "second time around" scenario too. And if anyone says no they have not...your fooling no one.

Adding also that this owner will still have to face the music with the past violations and existing ones. Prior to my arrival to Mt. Rushmore, there were 11 out of the 13 total stations fully operational..and barely at that. I spent weeks upon weeks just cleaning up the left over messes on top of repairs and replacing and filing. Then there was of course the studios and the same conditions at those places, plus tracking down the required items that were missing in all of the station's public file records, misplaced or improperly located licenses and missing licenses. It was unfortunate that during that time the owner had a much different prospective in regards to being in compliance much less actually care about those 13 stations.

Well today is a different day, and apparently so is the owner. I don't care if his prospective is a change brought about by the loss of 2 licenses or the approaching potential loss of another, or if someone walked up to him and gave him a good steel toe boot to the booty, the fact is that there is a change in this owner's attitude now, and has reached out to the only engineer on the planet that knows every kink and stink in the entire mess and the only engineer on the planet that knows exactly what will save both him and those stations...and at the present time, the only engineer around with the ability to throw a signal under STA for ANY of his stations.

We are awaiting the STA on the 94.5 for operation from my coordinates. His attorney believes that STA will come through on Monday, and for the duration of the STA, that station will operate from my location directly and be on the air with a signal good enough to cover the city, and rebuild it's presence and hit the sales rush for the holidays. And since a check was cut in advance and already deposited, I felt that even with the outstanding issues that I still take the position as I did 2 days ago before the turn about and walk a new path, the owner deserves someone's help.

Money isn't the core reason why I agreed to help him. It is the fact that the owner has finally seen the light of things and woken up to reality rather than virtual reality. If that new prospective holds, fantastic! I can then say "its about time". If it doesn't, it's no sweat off my brow and back.

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Re: STA's and Resume of Operations

Post by PID_Stop » Mon Oct 15, 2012 6:53 am

RFBurns wrote:Would you turn down revenue from one of your clients?
The point at which the client demonstrates their determination to violate the law, they instantly become a former client. I have the tee shirt for this. It's hard to turn away the income, and even harder to turn one's back on a station in which one has invested time and care, but a good reputation is hard to build -- and easy to destroy.
Just because I note their violations and question the lack of action by the FCC, does not mean I will turn away from a 5 grand contract.
Reminds me of a story about a fellow who asks a young woman if she would go to bed with him for a million dollars -- to which she says, "well, sure". Then he asks if she would do it for five dollars. "Of course not! What kind of woman do you think I am?" "We already established that," he says, "now we're just haggling over price."

The point isn't to condem you -- but rather to sound a caution that by entering into a financial relationship with this owner, you are fundamentally changing the dynamic in a way that could be dangerous to you.

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Re: STA's and Resume of Operations

Post by Deep Thought » Mon Oct 15, 2012 9:03 am

PID_Stop wrote:but rather to sound a caution that by entering into a financial relationship with this owner, you are fundamentally changing the dynamic in a way that could be dangerous to you.
Plus, the FCC can hold the engineer accountable if the licensee can make the case that they were "unaware" of the illegal operation. If you are the 'chief operator', your ass is in the sling.
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Re: STA's and Resume of Operations

Post by PID_Stop » Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:05 am

Deep Thought wrote:
PID_Stop wrote:but rather to sound a caution that by entering into a financial relationship with this owner, you are fundamentally changing the dynamic in a way that could be dangerous to you.
Plus, the FCC can hold the engineer accountable if the licensee can make the case that they were "unaware" of the illegal operation. If you are the 'chief operator', your ass is in the sling.
Precisely.

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Re: STA's and Resume of Operations

Post by RFBurns » Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:21 am

I appreciate the concerns. And I am well aware of what could develop or what potential "finger pointing" may be thrown my way, but I should also point out that the FCC is well aware of the history and where all the roads lead to. It's a matter of record within their own database, and previous inspections at all of the Mt. Rushmore stations. It is also a matter of record that during the period of April 2008 to September 2008, the violations prior to and after are clearly recorded as to the who, what, when and where, as well as the why.

As far as the temporary setup and authorization, I don't believe I have any worries there since it will in fact be FCC authorized.

In any case, your points are well taken and trust me, I dealt with the ownership before and know all the maze and haze that can be tossed out there to distort things. Paper trails and recorded conversations comes in handy, especially in a state where such recordings are perfectly legal to do without consent, and also accepted in a court of law as evidence.

Thanks guys!

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Re: STA's and Resume of Operations

Post by RFBurns » Tue Oct 16, 2012 11:01 am

This is to eliminate ANY doubt about being legal.

FCC STA Authorization.

8)

And, it's history in the making...a small flea keeps a big elephant standing. :)

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Re: STA's and Resume of Operations

Post by NECRAT » Tue Oct 16, 2012 4:37 pm

FYI, for those who don't know how to find it.

Here is the PDF of the actual STA http://licensing.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/prod/c ... r_id=36492
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