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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of )
) File No. EB-02-CF-427
Grass Roots Broadcasting, LLC ) NAL/Acct. No.
Woodstock, Virginia ) FRN: 0006-5780-41
NOTICE OF APPARENT LIABILITY FOR FORFEITURE
By the District Director, Columbia Office, Enforcement Bureau:
1. In this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture
("NAL"), we find that Grass Roots Broadcasting, LLC (``Grass
Roots'') has apparently violated Sections 17.4(a)(2), 17.50, and
73.1125(a) of the Commission's Rules1 (``Rules''), by failing to
register its antenna structure, failing to paint its antenna
structure, and failing to maintain a main studio. We conclude
that Grass Roots is apparently liable for a forfeiture in the
amount of twenty thousand dollars ($20,000).
2. On December 12, 2001, an agent from the Commission's
Columbia, Maryland office attempted an inspection of WAMM in
Woodstock, Virginia. The agent found that the main studio in the
Edinburg Mill building was unmanned.
3. On December 17, 2001, the Columbia Office issued a
Notice of Violation to Grass Roots for violation of Section
73.1125 of the Rules. In response by letter dated January 10,
2002, Grass Roots stated that in order to correct the violation;
the main studio was moving to 148 North Main St, Woodstock,
4. On June 26, 2002, agents from the Commission's Columbia
Maryland office conducted an inspection of station WAMM,
Woodstock, Virginia. The agents observed that none of the
production and transmission facilities or the management and
staff presence required at a broadcast station's main studio were
present at 148 North Main Street, Woodstock, Virginia. The only
person present at the main studio was employed by the attorney
located at the same address, and not employed by the broadcast
5. The agents also found that the 304-foot antenna
structure of the station was in need of painting. The agents
found that the structure paint had faded, peeled, and had worn
away to the extent that many sections of the structure had
rusted. The agents could not easily distinguish between white
and red painted sections of the structure. The condition of the
paint reduced the visibility of the tower. The agents further
determined that the antenna structure was not registered with the
6. On July 17, 2002, the Columbia Office issued a Notice
of Violation to Grass Roots for violation of Sections 11.52(d),
11.61(d), 17.4(a)(2), 17.50, 73.1125(a), 73.1225(d)(1),
73.1545(a), 73.1560(b), 73.1590(b), 73.3526(b) and 73.3526(e)(12)
of the Rules2. In response by letter dated August 5, 2002, Grass
Roots stated that the antenna registration issue had been brought
to its attention by an FCC inspector in December 2001 and that an
FAA study, required before the structure can be registered,
commenced on June 20, 2002. Grass Roots stated the previous
owner had agreed to paint the antenna structure but the
contractor failed to perform, and a new contractor had been
engaged to perform the painting. Grass Roots further stated that
it believed the requirements for a main studio were only that the
public inspection file and management (via telephone) be
available during business hours. Grass Roots stated that the main
studio, with full production and transmission facilities and
staff, is now located at 118 North Main Street, Woodstock,
Virginia. Grass Roots also adequately addressed corrective
action of the other violations in its reply.
7. Section 17.4(a)(2) of the Rules requires antenna
structures that had been assigned painting and lighting
requirements prior to July 1, 1996 be registered prior to July 1,
1998. The station license for WAMM, issued December 20, 1983
lists antenna structure painting and lighting requirements. The
licensee stated that an FCC inspector had verbally brought the
registration issue to his attention in December 2001. The
required FAA study was not begun until June 20, 2002. As of the
date of this Notice, Grass Roots still had not registered the
8. Section 17.50 of the Rules requires that antenna
structures be cleaned and painted as often as necessary to
maintain good visibility. On June 26, 2002, the required paint
on Grass Roots' antenna structure was severely faded, and was no
longer the required aviation orange and white in color. As a
result, the structure was not clearly visible.
9. Section 73.1125(a) of the Rules requires that each AM
FM and TV broadcast station maintain a main studio. In the
Commission's Memorandum Opinion and Order3 on main studio rules
released August 17, 1988, the Commission stated that ``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.'' At the time of inspection,
Grass Roots had no main studio with production facilities and no
meaningful management and staff presence.
10. Based on the evidence before us, we find that Grass
Roots willfully4 and repeatedly5 violated Section 17(4)(a),
17.50, and 73,1125(a) of the Rules by failing to register its
antenna structure, by failing to paint its antenna structure as
often as necessary to maintain good visibility, and by failing to
equip and staff a main studio. The Commission's Forfeiture
Policy Statement and Amendment of Section 1.80 of the Rules to
Incorporate the Forfeiture Guidelines, 12 FCC Rcd 17087, 17113
(1997), recon. denied, 15 FCC Rcd 303(1999) (``Forfeiture Policy
Statement'')6, sets the base forfeiture amounts at $3,000 for
failure to file the required forms or information (e.g. failure
to register the antenna structure), $10,000 for failure to comply
with prescribed lighting and/or marking, and $7,000 for violation
of the main studio rule. In assessing the monetary forfeiture
amount, we must take into account the statutory factors set forth
in Section 503(b)(2)(D) of the Communications Act of 1934
(``Act''), as amended,7 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. Applying the Forfeiture Policy Statement and the
statutory factors to the instant case and applying the inflation
adjustments, we believe that a twenty thousand dollar ($20,000)
monetary forfeiture is warranted.
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES
11. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED THAT, pursuant to Section
503(b) of the Act8 and Sections 0.111, 0.311 and 1.80 of the
Rules,9 Grass Roots is hereby NOTIFIED of this APPARENT LIABILITY
FOR A FORFEITURE in the amount of twenty thousand dollars
($20,000) for willfully violating Sections 17.4(a)(2), 17.50 and
73.1125(a) of the Rules.
12. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT, pursuant to Section 1.80 of
the Rules, within thirty days of the release date of this NOTICE
OF APPARENT LIABILITY, Grass Roots SHALL PAY the full amount of
the proposed forfeiture or SHALL FILE a written statement seeking
reduction or cancellation of the proposed forfeiture.
13. 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. 200332340001, and FRN 0006-5780-41.
14. The response, if any, must be mailed to Federal
Communications Commission, Enforcement Bureau, Technical and
Public Safety Division, 445 12th Street, S.W., Washington, D.C.
20554 and MUST INCLUDE THE NAL/Acct. No. 200332340001.
15. 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
16. Requests for payment of the full amount of this Notice
of Apparent Liability under an installment plan should be sent
to: Chief, Revenue and Receivables Operations Group, 445 12th
Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20554.10
17. 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 [relevant 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.
18. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT a copy of this NOTICE OF
APPARENT LIABILITY shall be sent by Certified Mail, Return
Receipt Requested, to Grass Roots Broadcasting, LLC, P.O. Box
107, Toms Brook, VA 22660. A copy shall also be sent to Grass
Roots Broadcasting, 100 Wolf's Lane, Fort Valley, VA 22652.
Charles C. Magin
1 47 C.F.R. §§ 17.4(a)(2), 17.50 and 73.1125(a).
247 C.F.R. §§ 11.52(d), 11.61(d), 73.1225(d)(1), 73.1545(a),
73.1560(b), 73.1590(b), 73.3526(b) and 73.3526(e)(12)
3 See Memorandum Opinion and Order, 3 FCC Rcd No. 17 (1988) at
4 Section 312(f)(1) of the Act, 47 U.S.C. § 312(f)(1), which
applies to 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 (1991).
5 Section 312(f)(2), which also applies to Section 503(b),
provides: [t]he term ``repeated'', when used with reference to
the commission or omission of any act, means the commission or
omission of such act more than once or, if such commission or
omission is continuous, for more than one day.
647 C.F.R. § 1.80.
7 47 U.S.C. § 503(b)(2)(D).
8 47 U.S.C. § 503(b).
9 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.111, and 0.311.
10 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.1914.