On top of have trouble keeping a Georgia AM station on the air, its licensee was also hit with a hefty fine for failure to effectively restrict access to its tower. The fine was significantly reduced, but the licensee was also informed it may not be so fortunate if there is a next time.
The station is Hye Cha Kim’s WDGR-AM Dahlonega GA, serving an unrated area north of Gainesville GA and well-north of Atlanta.
On the 5th, 11th and 17th of January 2012, FCC agents found sections of fencing around the tower missing, allowing easy access. It was also to be found operating after it was supposed to go off air. The station is a 10 kW daytimer on 1210 kHz.
Kim was hit with a notice of apparent liability of $11K.
However, Kim requested cancellation of reduction on the poverty plea, and financial documentation must have been convincing because the FCC reduced to penalty all the way down to $500. Kim also noted that it went off the air on 1/18/12, and added that it has a new transmitter now and hopes to be back in operation in full compliance with the rules and regulations soon.
The reduction came with the following warning: “However, we caution Mrs. Kim that a party’s inability to pay is only one factor in our forfeiture calculation analysis, and is not dispositive. We have previously rejected inability to pay claims in cases of repeated or otherwise egregious violations. Therefore, future violations of this kind may result in significantly higher forfeitures that may not be reduced due to Mrs. Kim’s financial circumstances.”