During a routine inspection in April 2010, Denver field agents cited a Utah FM broadcaster for excess radio frequency radiation ("RFR") exposure and failure to operate the station as authorized by the FCC. The citations resulted in a combined $14,000 fine.
According to the Notice of Apparent Liability ("NAL"), the station and its antenna tower were located at the top of a hill easily accessible by foot and all terrain vehicles. The station and tower were enclosed by a chain link fence, but access from the base of the hill to the station's fence was unobstructed. The field agents visited the station on two separate occasions and determined that the station was exceeding permitted RFR exposure levels, with actual RFR ranging from 165 to 315% of the legally acceptable levels at distances between 12 and 28 feet outside the chain link fence. At the time of the inspection, Denver field agents did not observe any posted RFR warning signs on or near the site. Failure to maintain acceptable levels of public RFR exposure is a direct violation of Section 1.1310 of the FCC's Rules, which mandates that broadcasters comply with the RFR exposure limits established by the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements as outlined in the tables provided in the FCC's Rules.
In addition, the Denver field agents confirmed on one occasion that the station was operating at 156% of its authorized power in direct violation of Section 73.1560(b) of the FCC's Rules. Section 73.1560(b) requires FM broadcasters to maintain a power level between 90% and 105% of their authorized power level. According to the NAL, the broadcaster had disclosed that it was aware of the station's excess RFR in its 2005 license renewal application. That application indicated that, at the time the renewal application was filed, an outer perimeter fence had been installed and RFR warning signs posted to protect the public from excess RFR. The NAL did not provide any details regarding the subsequent removal of the fence described in the broadcaster's license renewal application.
The base fines for violations of Sections 1.1310 (RFR exposure limits) and 73.1560 (operation at excessive power levels) are $10,000 and $4,000 respectively, leading to the combined $14,000 fine