NC tower of glower was unlit liability


East Carolina Radio Inc. is owner of a tower and an FM station, WERX, in the town of Columbia NC – the station serves which was relatively briefly an Arbitron market known as Elizabeth City-Nags Head. Unfortunately, an airplane pilot noticed that the tower was all but unlit after sunset.

The pilot complained about the structure to the FAA, which forwarded the complaint to the FCC 3/23/11. A subsequent inspection by an FCC agent and a contract engineer working for ECR found but one light working, about 100 feet up on a tower that rises close to 700 feet from ground level.

It turned out that a remote monitoring system failed, leaving ECR unaware of the outages; however, it failed to make sure the tower was inspected and failed to keep an inspection log.

ECR is required to make sure the tower is fully equipped with red obstruction lighting; it is to subject to reporting conditions with the FCC and also apprise the FAA when the problem is fixed.

And it must pay a $10K monetary forfeiture.