Pennsylvania post-sunset violation is one for the books


Actually, we suspect this is one for the blooper reel, but about the only people who would likely find it to be a knee-slapper are communications engineering types. The oddity: A post-sunset power violation being enforced against “FM station WKQW in Oil City, Pennsylvania.”

Anybody familiar with the basics of AM and FM broadcasting in the United States is aware that there is no possibility of an FM station running afoul of a sunset power violation, since FM stations have the same power 24/7.

The violation for exceeding post-sunset power limits was levied against WKWQ licensee Clarion County Broadcasting Corporation. The licensee disputed the $4K levy on grounds that the FCC was late assessing it. The violation was noted by an FCC agent during the months of October and November in 2008, but the NAL didn’t come until 3/4/10.

The FCC said its only obligation in terms of timeliness was to assess the NAL within the current license term of the station, and stands by it.

The confusion, of course, is the fact that FM stations broadcast at the same power regardless of whether it is daytime or nighttime. And here we believe we have caught the FCC in a typo. It seems that in addition to the WQKW-FM that the FCC mentioned in its release, there is a WKQW-AM, which turns out to be a Class D daytimer on 1120 kHz and subject to the possibility of a post-sunset violation. In addition, if you enter the facility ID cited in the forfeiture order into the FCC database, the record that comes up is indeed WKQW(AM).