Last week, the New Orleans Office of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau issued a Notice of Violation (“NOV”) to East Arkansas Broadcasters, Inc. for potentially violating the FCC’s antenna structure lighting rules. Specifically, the NOV claims that the lighting system on a tower owned by East Arkansas Broadcasters, Inc. in Jonesboro, Arkansas is not currently in working order.
Background. Under the FCC’s antenna structure rules, any proposed or existing antenna structure that requires notice of proposed construction to the FAA must be registered with the FCC. In general, this obligation applies to towers exceeding 200 feet in height. Some shorter towers may also require registration due to the tower’s location (e.g., proximity to an airport runway).
Registering a tower is a two-step process. Antenna structure owners must first file a form with the FAA, and receive a determination from that agency that the structure will not pose a hazard to air navigation (the FAA will also provide marking and lighting requirements). Next, the antenna structure owner must submit to the FCC the FAA’s “no hazard” determination and FCC Form 854.
If the application is accepted, the FCC will incorporate the FAA’s “no hazard” determination, along with any FAA marking or lighting specifications, and will assign the structure a registration number. Once an antenna structure is registered, owners must comply with various requirements, including monitoring and periodically inspecting tower lighting systems, reporting lighting outages to the FAA immediately, and repairing outages “as soon as practicable.”
Notice of Violation. The Enforcement Bureau’s New Orleans Office received acknowledgement from the president of East Arkansas Broadcasters, Inc. that the lighting for one of its towers is currently in a nonworking status. Based on evidence gathered through the Notice to Airmen database, the lights on the tower have been inoperable since February 2, 2017.
The NOV seeks additional information concerning the violations and any remedial action taken by the tower owner. Issuance of the NOV does not preclude further action from the Enforcement Bureau if warranted, such as issuing a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture.
Cable operators with registered towers should ensure that their towers are painted and lighted in accordance with FCC registrations. If you have any questions about the FCC’s antenna structure rules, please contact Scott Friedman at firstname.lastname@example.org or (312) 372-3930.