GTI: Translator operator busted as he “inched” his way towards Miami.
The FCC has released a Consent Decree in the case of Broadcast Towers Inc., a participant in the 2003 “Great Translator Invasion” filing window. In the Decree, the FCC charges BTI of using the minor modification process to slowly move FM translators closer to Miami to “take advantage of the larger populations located there”. According to the FCC, BTI would file an application for a construction permit with a roadside location. BTI would then park a vehicle at the site with a telescoping antenna and operate the translator for two to five hours using a telescoping antenna and a portable generator. They would then discontinue operations, disassembled the equipment and drive away. BTI would then file an application to cover. After the license was granted, BTI would then choose a new location and do the same process all over again.
The FCC acted on complaints by Clear Channel and WXDJ who filed a joint motion to cancel the authorizations. In their motion, they claimed that BTI abused the Commission’s processes such as those requiring dependable service, notification to the FCC to discontinue operations for 30 days or more, posting of station information, unattended operation and assurance of site availability. In response, BTI argued that site would be available because, with one exception, they were public roads, parks or parking lots. BTI operated each station at least once every 30 days and states that FM translators do not have a minimum operating schedule citing 74.1263. BTI states the “sign” with the station’s call sign or contact information was affixed to the structure supporting the antenna. William Lacy, sole proprietor of BTI stated that he was physically present at the sites while the translator was in operation.
As a part of the agreement, BTI agrees that it has failed to provide “dependable service” and “avoid unwarranted interruptions” to service from the translators in violation of 74.1263(a). BTI also stipulates that it failed to notify the FCC of discontinued operations at W237DK for more than 30 days, failure to comply with requirements around availability of translator sites, failure to post information at the translator sites and most importantly, abused FCC processes in the course of migration of the translators to Miami. BTI will agree to cancellation of authorizations of translators and to dismiss pending applications and divest from translator W285EH in Key West by the end of the year. BTI made a showing of financial hardship and will not be required to make a voluntary contribution to the US Treasury as normally done in Consent Decree proceedings. (REC NETWORKS)