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Steve Tuzeneu
Sonshine Media

Compliance Is Cost-Effective

 

 

 

 

It never ceases to amaze me how many radio stations get into big trouble with the FCC for relatively simple matters.  Secular stations, Christian stations, A.M., F.M., high power, low power, all seem to wander into the violation trap.

 

A station in West Virginia was fined $7,000.00 for filing their form 302 four years late!  An LPFM station was fined $10,000.00 for not having E.A.S. equipment installed and working properly.  A station in Puerto Rico was fined $20,000.00 for not having their tower painted or lit.  A Christian radio station in the South was fined $10,000.00 for not keeping its public file current.

 

These violations are just a small sampling of the trouble radio stations all over America find themselves in.  These difficulties could just as easily be avoided with routine self-inspections conducted by the station engineer, contract engineer, or someone on staff.  Additionally, many of your local  broadcasting associations conduct what's called the Alternative Broadcast Inspection  Program, or ABIP for short.

 

For a few hundred dollars, an independent engineer works with your station and state broadcasting association to conduct the ABIP.  This inspection usually lasts a day, and includes a checkup of technical standards and a careful look at the public file. Assuming the station passes, the broadcasting association issues a certificate of compliance.  This certificate does not prevent the FCC from inspecting your station, but it does go a long way to keeping you legal.  Some inspectors will see your certificate and honor the time and money you invested in keeping your station legal by going on to the next station on the list.

 

Another method of avoiding FCC fines is the do-it-yourself method.  On the FCC website are check lists for seven categories of broadcasting station, one of which will apply to your situation.  These check lists are located at: http://transition.fcc.gov/eb/bc-chklsts/.  The do-it-yourself method, if carefully conducted, should save you thousands of dollars in fines if you take prompt action to correct any violations. 

 

Keeping your station in compliance with FCC rules and regulations is an ongoing process, a process most often the responsibility of your engineering department.  Like all engineering expenditures, the task of keeping your station legal should be seen as an investment, not as an expense.   Whatever you invest in keeping compliant will pay for itself by avoiding fines that could dramatically affect your bottom line.

  

Steve Tuzeneu is an experienced radio station manager and engineer and is the Director of Engineering for Sonshine Media, LLC.  You may reach him at: steve@sonshinemedia.net