FCC injures NJ AM wallet after hurricane injures its fence


Equity Communications radio station WCMC-AM Wildwood NJ was discovered with only remnants of a fence protecting its tower on 10/18/11. The fence suffered hurricane damage, and now the WCMC bank account is suffering FCC damage.

We take it that the hurricane was Irene, which made landfall in North Carolina and worked its way up the eastern seaboard late in the summer of 2011.

When an FCC agent visited the scene a week later, nothing had changed. The FCC was not pleased, especially in view of the fact that the tower was located in a residential neighborhood. Equity said it was trying to get a contractor to install a permanent fence, and was informed that it had best get a temporary enclosure up in the interim, which it did. On 7/5/12, Equity informed the FCC that a permanent fence was in place.

The standard fine for failure to enclose a broadcast tower is $7K, but it turns out Equity had a prior for the same violation at its WMID-AM Atlantic City NJ. That inspired the FCC to bump up the penalty to $10K.