FCC Field Office Personnel Visiting Stations and Issuing Notices of Violation

Posted on July 28th, 2022 by

A few months ago, we wrote here that the FCC had lifted its Covid-19 travel restrictions on the personnel in its field offices.  As a result, we anticipated immediate station visits and active responses to complaints about broadcast station operations.  In recent days, the FCC’s field offices in Miami, West Palm Beach and Atlanta have each issued notices of violation to broadcast stations.

In the case originated by the Miami field office, agents were prohibited from accessing the station, in violation of Section 73.1225(a) of the FCC’s rules requiring licensee to make the station available for inspection by FCC representatives during business ours or at any time it is in operation.  Despite displaying their badges and credentials to two different station representatives, FCC agents were denied access to the station.  A call to the licensee didn’t change things.  The NOV requires a written statement explaining the rule violation under penalty of perjury.

In the NOV issued by the West Palm Beach field office, the station was not operating at the location specified in its previously issued STA.  In addition, the station was using a different antenna than the one authorized.  Section 73.1350(a) of the FCC’s rules require stations to operate in accordance with FCC-issued authorizations.  Even though the station admitted to the violation during the investigation, the field office issued the NOV anyway.

Finally, in the NOV issued by the Atlanta field office, the station inspection revealed multiple rule violations stemming from operation of an FM booster station without an authorization from the FCC.

Notices of Violation are formal investigative tools used by the FCC.  After responses are received, the FCC has authority to issue notices of apparent liability for monetary forfeitures or take other enforcement actions.