FCC Rules concerning transmitter site contracts, use, ownership, etc...

Discuss FCC rules, regulations, news, and information!
Post Reply
User avatar
kkiddkkidd
Posts: 716
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2007 11:13 am
Location: Lawrenceburg, TN

FCC Rules concerning transmitter site contracts, use, ownership, etc...

Post by kkiddkkidd » Wed Jul 11, 2018 8:15 am

Hi all,

Does anyone know if there are ANY FCC rules, anywhere that regulate transmitter site contracts, size, use, location, ownership, etc?

I have a client in a dispute with the family of his deceased transmitter site property owner. The now deceased property owner and the station owner were friends and although the station is positive that they had a long term written contract, no one can produce it. There was a county variance granted many years ago for a non-compliant subdivision at about the time the site was built.

The property owning family now think that the rough old hillside is covered in gold and is trying to pull all manner of BS including disputing the duly registered variance.

Their lawyer throws "and in violation of FCC rules" into almost every sentence concerning the actual property and contract but deflects every time that he is asked to quote chapter and verse of the rules that are being violated.

Regards,.
--
Kevin C. Kidd CSRE/AMD
WD4RAT
AM Ground Systems Company
http://www.amgroundsystems.com
KK Broadcast Engineering
http://www.kkbc.com

rftranstv
Posts: 74
Joined: Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:13 am

Re: FCC Rules concerning transmitter site contracts, use, ownership, etc...

Post by rftranstv » Wed Jul 11, 2018 10:26 am

I don't think there are much FCC rules on contracts like that..best bet is to contact a local lawyer familiar with the local property type laws...alot of communication/broadcast type sites are covered under a perpetual easement (especially if it's an older site). The county would have that type of record...i have tried digging up records for sites in the past myself and it was a huge pain...getting with a lawyer or a paralegal who knows the area is a best bet.

User avatar
Deep Thought
Posts: 3393
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2008 9:23 am
Location: La Grange, IL
Contact:

Re: FCC Rules concerning transmitter site contracts, use, ownership, etc...

Post by Deep Thought » Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:24 pm

The FCC has historically considered this sort of thing to be contract law outside their jurisdiction, so there's no help there. However, if the site owner does something to knock the station off the air or somehow damages the facility that is a violation of the Communications Act and several other Federal laws which can carry six-digit penalties and prison time. The devil is in the details, though, as the site owner will probably claim the station remained on the property illegally without a lease.

About the only thing the property owner could possibly toss in would be that the station did not have "reasonable assurance" to use the site, but the fact that it is there and has been for years pretty much makes that argument a non-starter.

Good luck.
Mark Mueller • Mueller Broadcast Design • La Grange, IL • http://www.muellerbroadcastdesign.com

Lee_Wheeler
Posts: 117
Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2016 1:53 pm
Location: Kansas City

Re: FCC Rules concerning transmitter site contracts, use, ownership, etc...

Post by Lee_Wheeler » Wed Jul 11, 2018 5:20 pm

The only thing similar I have seen lately was a dispute where American Tower tried to throw Pacifica off of a tower (Empire State?) where they hadn't paid rent on for a Long, Long, Time. The Judge wouldn't let them evict but I think it got dealt with as a civil matter.

Finding a signed lease would be a huge help but there is no FCC violation in operating from a licensed site so long as the tower itself is properly registered. If they are threatening eviction that will be a local matter and state laws on eviction are all over the place. I have rental property in Missouri and it is extremely difficult to evict a residential tenant. In Kansas I can have them forcibly removed with their crap on the curb in about 45 days. The zoning variance will be at the courthouse or in the minutes or transcript of the local council meeting or at planing and zoning, however things are set up locally.

I had one client where we fought for nearly three years to get a zoning variance to build the tower but there were such hard feelings that they were going to try to deny a utility easement permit to get power to the building. I put them on the air with a generator and the county council gave up quickly after they went on the air since it was now a Federally licensed facility.

...Lee

User avatar
kkiddkkidd
Posts: 716
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2007 11:13 am
Location: Lawrenceburg, TN

Re: FCC Rules concerning transmitter site contracts, use, ownership, etc...

Post by kkiddkkidd » Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:06 pm

Thanks for all the input. I was reasonably sure myself that the FCC had no modern rules concerning such. Me thinks that the families atty may be throwing around the "against FCC rules and regulations" thinking that the station owner will buckle under threat of FCC action.

It could be the other way around... The FM tower also holds antenna's for the local SO and IIRC the county FD. The county authorities are very supportive of the station but have to stay at arms length since it is about to go to court.

The station has what is supposed to be a very good local atty working on the land deal as well as a good FCC atty working on the threat of FCC action (whatever they think it might be).

Regards,
--
Kevin C. Kidd CSRE/AMD
WD4RAT
AM Ground Systems Company
http://www.amgroundsystems.com
KK Broadcast Engineering
http://www.kkbc.com

rftranstv
Posts: 74
Joined: Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:13 am

Re: FCC Rules concerning transmitter site contracts, use, ownership, etc...

Post by rftranstv » Sat Jul 14, 2018 6:11 pm

Another thing the transmitter owner has for them is that in some jurisdictions if the tower has been there undisputed for a certain amount of time (multiple decades) it is said to be protected by an unwritten easement of some kind..not sure of the legal terms for it..it's similar to certain squatting laws but I have heard of it before in similar situations

User avatar
kkiddkkidd
Posts: 716
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2007 11:13 am
Location: Lawrenceburg, TN

Re: FCC Rules concerning transmitter site contracts, use, ownership, etc...

Post by kkiddkkidd » Sat Jul 14, 2018 9:29 pm

rftranstv wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 6:11 pm
Another thing the transmitter owner has for them is that in some jurisdictions if the tower has been there undisputed for a certain amount of time (multiple decades) it is said to be protected by an unwritten easement of some kind..not sure of the legal terms for it..it's similar to certain squatting laws but I have heard of it before in similar situations

Thanks for all the input. I have relayed to the station owner. Now that the lawyers are fully in charge, I fear that this has proceeded past any civil resolution outside that ordered by a judge.

I think that the family's atty is just throwing around "against FCC regulations" in an attempt to discomfit the station.

Regards,
--
Kevin C. Kidd CSRE/AMD
WD4RAT
AM Ground Systems Company
http://www.amgroundsystems.com
KK Broadcast Engineering
http://www.kkbc.com

Post Reply