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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of ) File Number EB-02-AT-317
Piedmont Radio Co. ) NAL/Acct. No.200332480006
Licensee of AM Radio Station )
WPID, Piedmont, Alabama, and ) FRN 0007-7794-32
Owner of Unregistered Antenna )
Structure At or Near Coordinates
33° 55' 45'' North Latitude by
085° 35' 42'' West Longitude, in
NOTICE OF APPARENT LIABILITY FOR FORFEITURE
Released: October 15, 2002
By the Enforcement Bureau, Atlanta Office:
1. In this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture
(``NAL''), we find Piedmont Radio Co., licensee of radio station
WPID, Piedmont, Alabama, and owner of an unregistered antenna
structure near Piedmont, Alabama, apparently liable for a
forfeiture in the amount of ten thousand dollars ($10,000) for
willful and repeated violation of Sections 73.1125(a) and 17.4(a)
of the Commission's Rules (``Rules'').1 Specifically, we find
Piedmont Radio Co. apparently liable for not maintaining a
presence at its main studio during normal business hours and
failing to register its antenna structure.
2. On June 26, 2002, at 1:45 P.M. local time, and again at
3:50 P.M. local time, an agent of the Commission's Atlanta Field
Office (``Atlanta Office'') attempted an inspection of radio
station WPID's main studio located at the transmitter site in
Piedmont, Alabama. The main studio office doors were locked and
no lights were visible. There were no office hours denoted on
the doors and no indication of why the office was closed. The
agent called the listed telephone numbers for WPID and received
3. On June 26, 2002, the agent inspected the antenna
structure of WPID(AM) located at or near geographical coordinates
33° 55' 45'' North Latitude by 085° 35' 42'' West Longitude, in
Piedmont, Alabama.2 The structure was over 200 feet tall and
was painted and lighted. The agent checked the FCC's Antenna
Structure Registration records and determined that the antenna
structure was not registered with the FCC.
4. On July 16, 2002, at 9:40 A.M. and 10:55 A.M. local
time, the agent again telephoned the station and received no
answer. On August 21, 2002, at 1:23 P.M. and 3:30 P.M. local
time, the agent again telephoned the station and received no
5. On August 26, 2002, the agent reached the owner of WPID
by telephone who verified that the antenna structure of WPID is
owned by the licensee, Piedmont Radio Co., and that the structure
was not registered with the Commission. The station license for
WPID requires that the antenna structure be painted and lighted
since it is over 200 feet tall. The owner also verified that the
studio of WPID is not staffed during normal business hours.
6. Section 73.1125(a) requires the licensee of a broadcast
station to maintain a main studio at one of the following
locations: (1) within the station's community of license; (2) at
any location within the principal community contour of any AM,
FM, or TV broadcast station licensed to the station's community
of license; or (3) within twenty-five miles from the reference
coordinates of the center of its community of license. In
adopting the main studio rules, the Commission explicitly
informed permittees and licensees that compliance with the main
studio rules required maintenance of a meaningful staff and
management presence,3 stating:
A station must maintain a main studio which has
the capability adequately to meet its function, as
discussed above, of serving the needs and interests of
the residents of the station's community of license.
To fulfill this function, a station must equip the main
studio with production and transmission facilities that
meet applicable standards, maintain continuous program
transmission capability, and maintain a meaningful
management and staff presence. Maintenance of
production and transmission capability will allow
broadcasters to continue, at their option, and as the
marketplace demands, to produce local programs at the
studio. A meaningful management and staff presence
will help expose stations to community activities, help
them identify community needs and interests and thereby
meet their community service requirements.4
Subsequently, in its decision in Jones Eastern of the Outer
Banks, Inc.,5 the Commission further clarified the concept of a
meaningful management and staff presence. The Commission
specified that, at a minimum, a main studio must maintain full-
time managerial and full-time staff personnel.6 The Commission
also stated that licensees need not have the same staff person
and manager at the studio, as long as there was management and
staff presence there during normal business hours.7 With respect
to management personnel, the Commission further clarified that
they need not be ``chained to their desks'' but that they would
be required to report to work at the main studio on a daily
basis, spend a substantial amount of time there, and use the main
studio as their ``home base.''8 On June 26, 2002, Piedmont Radio
Co. did not maintain a presence at the main studio of WPID(AM)
during normal business hours. The main studio was completely
unattended on June 26, 2002, at 1:45 P.M. and 3:50 P.M local
time. On July 16 and August 21, 2002, there was no answer in
response to repeated telephone calls made during normal business
hours to the listed telephone number for WPID(AM)'s main studio.
Piedmont admitted that the WPID(AM) main studio was not staffed.
7. Section 17.4(a) of the Rules requires the owner of an
antenna structure that required notice to the Federal Aviation
Administration (``FAA'') to register the antenna structure with
the Commission. Piedmont Radio Co.'s antenna structure required
FAA notification because it exceeded 200 feet in height.9 Yet
Piedmont Radio Co. failed to register the structure.
8. Based on the evidence before us, we find Piedmont Radio
Co. willfully10 and repeatedly11 violated Sections 73.1125(a) and
17.4(a) of the Rules by failing to maintain a presence at the
main studio of WPID(AM) during normal business hours and failing
to register its antenna structure.
9. Pursuant to Section 1.80(b)(4) of the Rules,12 the base
forfeiture amount for violation of main studio rules is $7,000
and failing to register the antenna structure (failure to file
required forms or information) is $3,000. In assessing the
monetary forfeiture amount, we must also take into account the
statutory factors set forth in Section 503(b)(2)(D) of the
Communications Act of 1934, as amended (``Act''), which include
the nature, circumstances, extent, and gravity of the violation,
and with respect to the violator, the degree of culpability, any
history of prior offenses, ability to pay, and other such matters
as justice may require.13 Considering the entire record and
applying the factors listed above, this case warrants a $10,000
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES
10. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED THAT, pursuant to Section
503(b) of the Act,14 and Sections 0.111, 0.311 and 1.80 of the
Rules,15 Piedmont Radio Co. is hereby NOTIFIED of this APPARENT
LIABILITY FOR A FORFEITURE in the amount of ten thousand dollars
($10,000) for willful and repeated violation of Sections
73.1125(a) and 17.4(a) of the Rules by failing to maintain a
presence at the main studio of WPID(AM) during normal business
hours and failing to register its antenna structure.
11. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT, pursuant to Section 1.80 of
the Rules, within thirty days of the release date of this NAL,
Piedmont Radio Co. SHALL PAY the full amount of the proposed
forfeiture or SHALL FILE a written statement seeking reduction or
cancellation of the proposed forfeiture.
12. Payment of the forfeiture may be made by mailing a
check or similar instrument, payable to the order of the Federal
Communications Commission, to the Forfeiture Collection Section,
Finance Branch, Federal Communications Commission, P.O. Box
73482, Chicago, Illinois 60673-7482. The payment should note the
NAL/Acct. No. and FRN referenced above. Requests for payment of
the full amount of this NAL under an installment plan should be
sent to: Chief, Revenue and Receivables Operations Group, 445
12th Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20554.16
13. The response, if any, must be mailed to Federal
Communications Commission, Office of the Secretary, 445 12th
Street SW, Washington DC 20554, Attn: Enforcement Bureau-
Technical & Public Safety Division and MUST INCLUDE THE NAL/Acct.
No. referenced above.
14. The Commission will not consider reducing or canceling
a forfeiture in response to a claim of inability to pay unless
the petitioner submits: (1) federal tax returns for the most
recent three-year period; (2) financial statements prepared
according to generally accepted accounting practices (``GAAP'');
or (3) some other reliable and objective documentation that
accurately reflects the petitioner's current financial status.
Any claim of inability to pay must specifically identify the
basis for the claim by reference to the financial documentation
15. Under the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002,
Pub L. No. 107-198, 116 Stat. 729 (June 28, 2002), the FCC is
engaged in a two-year tracking process regarding the size of
entities involved in forfeitures. If you qualify as a small
entity and if you wish to be treated as a small entity for
tracking purposes, please so certify to us within thirty (30)
days of this NAL, either in your response to the NAL or in a
separate filing to be sent to the Technical & Public Safety
Division. Your certification should indicate whether you,
including your parent entity and its subsidiaries, meet one of
the definitions set forth in the list provided by the FCC's
Office of Communications Business Opportunities (OCBO) set forth
in Attachment A of this Notice of Apparent Liability. This
information will be used for tracking purposes only. Your
response or failure to respond to this question will have no
effect on your rights and responsibilities pursuant to Section
503(b) of the Communications Act. If you have questions
regarding any of the information contained in Attachment A,
please contact OCBO at (202) 418-0990.
16. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT a copy of this NAL shall be
sent by regular mail and Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested
to Piedmont Radio Co., P.O. Box 227, Piedmont, Alabama 36272.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Fred L. Broce
Atlanta Office, Enforcement Bureau
1 47 C.F.R. § 73.1125(a) and 17.4(a).
2 Piedmont Radio Co. is licensee of radio station WPID as well as
owner of the antenna structure used by WPID.
3 Main Studio and Program Origination Rules, 3 FCC Rcd 5024
(1988); 53 FR 32899 (August 29, 1988).
4 Id. at 5026 (footnotes omitted).
5 6 FCC Rcd 3615 (1991), clarified, 7 FCC Rcd 6800 (1992).
6 Id., 6 FCC Rcd at 3616.
7 Id. at n. 2.
8 Id., 7 FCC Rcd at 6802.
9 See 47 C.F.R. § 17.7(a).
10 Section 312(f)(1) of the Act, 47 U.S.C. § 312(f)(1), which
applies to violations for which forfeitures are assessed under
Section 503(b) of the Act, provides that ``[t]he term `willful',
when used with reference to the commission or omission of any
act, means the conscious and deliberate commission or omission of
such act, irrespective of any intent to violate any provision of
this Act . . . .'' See Southern California Broadcasting Co., 6
FCC Rcd 4387-88 (1991).
11 The term ``repeated'' means the commission or omission of an
act more than once or, if such commission or omission is
continuous, for more than one day. 47 U.S.C. § 312(f)(2).
12 47 C.F.R. § 1.80(b)(4).
13 47 U.S.C. § 503(b)(2)(D).
14 47 U.S.C. § 503(b).
15 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.111, 0.311, 1.80.
16 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.1914.