FCC fines local broadcaster for emitting too many waves
MAUI-BASED Visionary Related Entertainment LLC
has been slapped with a $10,000 fine by the Federal Communications Commission in a three-year old case over excess radio-frequency radiation -- what most people would call radio waves -- emanating from its KAOI-FM 95.1 antenna.
It's not a surprise.
The company has been fighting the penalty since shortly after a January 2003 FCC inspection of the Maui antenna site -- and a nearby arboretum's subsequent complaint about RF, later dismissed.
Company President John Detz could not be reached for comment yesterday, as he was in an area of Molokai with no wireless phone coverage, according to John Aeto, general manager of Visionary's Oahu stations.
"Neither a reduction or cancellation of the proposed $10,000 forfeiture is warranted," the FCC wrote, in an eight-page decision released yesterday.
The fine is payable within 30 days.
Visionary has spent just under $3 million in FCC auctions for the right to spend more money to build three radio stations in Kaunakakai, Kurtistown and Kihei since 2004. It also plans to bid on at least one more radio station construction permit -- for 96.7 FM Kailua-Kona, in a March FCC auction.
Visionary also lured four, high-dollar, top managers and billers away from the Honolulu cluster of stations belonging to Georgia-based Cox Radio Inc. last September.
At the close of the last auction, last month, Detz said the spending has been funded by investment vehicles set up years ago and joked that it would not mean pay cuts for staff.
However, two on-air employees have recently disappeared from Visionary's Honolulu airwaves -- veteran radio personality Lisa D, from KQMQ-FM 93.1 and "Taka," the morning sidekick at KDDB-FM 102.7.
"Lisa's still involved with us," doing such things as MC work, Aeto said, but had no comment about other staffers.
Meanwhile, National Sales Manager Joshua Fleming has told online radio industry publication All Access that the company had declined to renew his contract, citing cost cutting.
A loss of three people from the payroll of just about any other company would hardly be noticed, but such changes in radio and television are visible.
The company has added about 10 people since September, "reallocating resources to sales and or promotions," Aeto said.
"Net overall, we're growing and I think we're going to be one of the few, if not the only radio company that continues to invest in our product."
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4747, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org