A local engineer who put Payson's newest radio station KRIM FM on the air, pulled the plug on the fledgling station at 12:45 a.m. Monday morning.
Michael J. Day said several practices that violate Federal Communications Commission guidelines mandated the station, which has been on the air less than a month, be shut down within three hours. Among the charges leveled by Day:
He was instructed by station owner Steve Bingham to construct a 35-meter (115 feet) antenna, while regulations for low-powered stations limit antenna height to 7 meters (22.9 feet).
The antenna was installed before a construction permit was issued by the FCC.
While FCC regulations mandate a maximum of eight watts of power, Bingham has been using 300.
Day also charged Bingham with:
Not conforming to American Society of Composers and Publishers' regulations for maintaining a music log or play list.
Refusing to pay an employee $900, part of what she earned logging music and doing related record-keeping tasks.
In an e-mail to Bingham copied to the Roundup, Day wrote, "It is plane (sic) for anyone to see (that) the FCC rules require me to 'terminate' this station from broadcasting a signal over the air with my equipment within three hours of my having knowledge of such violations."
Bingham leases equipment from Day to operate the station.
Bingham disputes all of Day's allegations, insisting that the KRIM FM operation is "100 percent" in compliance with FCC regulations. He claims that Day simply doesn't understand the guidelines under which low-powered stations operate.
"We have an amended license which (allows an antenna) about 80 feet, and that's where I am," Bingham said. "Because I'm low power I don't have to log the songs I play like a regular station does."
The woman Day says is owed $900 by KRIM FM, identified in his e-mail as Becky Tucker, is actually his "on-again, off-again" girlfriend according to Bingham.
John Carpino, local musician and station program director, said he was listening to KRIM FM early Monday morning when it went off the air. When he called Day at home there was no answer, so Carpino drove down to the KRIM FM studio located in Bonanza Square. Day was at the station.
"He thought I'd be asleep, and Steve Bingham was out of town," Carpino said.
He said Day claimed the FCC authorized him to take the station off the air.
"It's his word only and until he can show me any kind of order, which I know there's not, he's breaking the law," Carpino said.
Day admitted to the Roundup that he had no direct authorization from the FCC to shut down the station, nor has he been in contact with the FCC.
"That is probably the way (Carpino) understood it," Day said. "I told him the FCC's rules and regulations are very specific about turning it off until the thing is corrected," Day said.
He also said he hopes the matter can be resolved soon so KRIM can be back on the air.
"This thing is only supposed to be turned off until the corrections are made," he said. "I talked to other people involved in this industry that we use for legal counsel and the answer was, 'Michael, you need to turn this off and make the corrections. Then you can turn it back on ... I don't want a war with these people."
The Roundup was unable to reach anyone from the FCC regarding the charges.