Mt. Wilson Stations Slapped With RF Violation Fines
For the first time, the FCC proposed forfeitures against four licensees for violating the radiofrequency radiation maximum permissible exposure limits at a multi-user site - Mt. Wilson in Los Angeles. The commission said the power density level produced by each individual licensee was within acceptable limits, but the cumulative effect exceeded allowable limits. The commission said the seriousness of the safety violation warrants a proposed forfeiture of $10,000 for each station, for a total of $40,000.
Fined are KBIG(FM), KKBT(FM), KRTH(FM) and KWHY(TV). The licensees are Clear Channel, Radio One, Infinity and Telemundo, respectively. All of the licensees whose transmitters exceed the limits share responsibility for reducing RF to permissible levels, stated the agency.
FCC agents inspecting the Mt. Wilson transmitter site in July 2002 determined that RF levels in a publicly accessible area, located approximately 100 feet from a U.S. Post Office, exceeded the maximum permissible exposure limits by 60.5%.
The antenna farm was not fully gated and not marked with RF warnings, stated the agency. Broadcast engineers familiar with the site told field agents said contractors working at the site had most likely taken down the sign. The agents cited the stations for failing to prevent the public from accessing areas that exceeded the RF exposure limits.
The stations then installed more fencing and RF warning signs. But during an inspection in September, an agent said a gate leading to one of the site entrances was left open. Along with the money, the commission directed the licensees to submit their plans to ensure the fences surrounding the antennas are shut and the gates are locked.