Absent staff, downed fences costs Mattoon combo


Cowpokes may put a lot of stake in not being fenced in, but the FCC has once again indicated it is not lenient at all when it comes to a broadcast tower not being properly fenced. That and an unattended studio are putting a dent in the bank account of WLBH AM-FM Mattoon IL.

The stations are licensed to Mattoon Broadcasting Company. An FCC field agent attempting to conduct a routine inspection failed to get a response at the stations’ studio on 7/21/10 and again the next day, neither by phone or by visiting in person.

Although the agent spotted a pair of vehicles in the parking lot, he also noted that they both suffered from flat tires.

The agent then inspected the AM’s four-tower array, and discovered “…that the fences surrounding each of the towers had either sections that were falling down or sections that were completely missing. In each case, the state of disrepair allowed unfettered access to the tower and there was no perimeter fence surrounding the property on which the towers were located.”

The combo’s president/GM eventually reached the agent by phone 6/30/10. He noted that the staffer who is usually at the studio had been undergoing a series of medical tests at the time and offered no other comment on staffing, and said that the fencing would be repaired immediately.

The FCC said each violation carried a standard fine of $7K, so it added them together and is hitting MBC with a notice of apparent liability for $14K total.