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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of )
Max Media of Montana, LLC ) File No. EB-02-ST-234
900 Laskin Road ) NAL/Acct. No. 200232900002
Virginia Beach, VA 23451 ) FRN 0004-9891-33
Antenna Structure Registration # 1051225 )
Great Falls, MT )
NOTICE OF APPARENT LIABILITY FOR FORFEITURE
Released: September 27,
By the District Director, Seattle Office, Enforcement Bureau:
1. In this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture ("NAL"),
we find that Max Media of Montana, LLC (``Max Media''), registered
owner of antenna structure number 1051225 in Great Falls, Montana, has
apparently willfully violated Section 303(q) of the Communications Act
of 1934, as amended (``Act''),1 and Sections 17.21, 17.47(a)(2) and
17.57 of the Commission's Rules (``Rules'')2 by failing to exhibit the
prescribed antenna structure lighting, failing to properly maintain an
operating automatic alarm system to indicate when the structure
lighting is not operating, and failing to notify the Federal
Communications Commission (``FCC'') of the change of ownership of the
antenna structure. We conclude, pursuant to Section 503(b) of the
Act,3 that Max Media is apparently liable for forfeiture in the amount
of thirteen thousand dollars ($13,000).
2. On Friday, May 3, 2002, at approximately 5:30 p.m., a
Seattle Office Agent conducting a random antenna structure inspection
in Great Falls, Montana, observed that the top high-intensity light on
the Antenna Structure Registration (``ASR'') # 1051225 was
extinguished. The antenna structure is located within 8 miles of the
Great Falls airport and 11 miles of the Malmstrom Air Force Base.
According to the ASR, the structure is 244 meters above ground level
and is required by the FAA to maintain lighting in accordance with
chapters 4, 6, and 9 of FAA Circular Number 70/7460-1G. On May 3,
2002, both the ASR and the FCC database listed Continental Television
Network, Inc., d/b/a KTGF as the registered owner of the antenna
structure. Efforts by the Seattle Agent to contact Continental
Television Network, Inc., and station KTGF-TV that evening and over
the weekend failed.
3. On May 4, 2002, the top strobe light was still extinguished.
The Seattle Agent again attempted to contact the Continental
Television Network, Inc. and Station KTGF-TV, to no avail. The Agent
visited the KTGF-TV studio at 118 6th Street South in Great Falls,
Montana, but the office was closed.
4. On May 5, 2002 the light was still extinguished. Contact
with the FAA Flight Service Station in Great Falls, MT indicated that
the extinguished light had not been reported. The Seattle FCC Agent
reported the outage to the FAA and a Notice to Airman (NOTAM) was
5. On Monday, May 6, 2001, the Seattle Agent, returning to
Great Falls from Helena, MT, observed the top strobe light
functioning. At approximately 1:00 p.m., the Seattle Agent visited
the KTGF-TV studio. The station manager stated that Max Media was the
owner of both the station and the antenna structure, that the
automatic monitoring of the tower lighting was conducted at a remote
Max Media facility in Missoula, Montana, and that KTGF-TV had not been
notified of the tower light failure. The station engineer was,
however, at the tower site at that time, doing maintenance on the
6. Station personnel at KTGF provided a copy of a 1998 ASR
Application identifying Continental Television Network, Inc., as the
registered owner, but were unable to produce a copy of an ASR
identifying Max Media as the registered owner. Subsequent review of
the FCC database revealed that ownership of Station KTGF-TV was
transferred on March 28, 2001 from Continental Television Network,
Inc., to Max Media of Montana, LLC. The ownership information for ASR
1051225 was not updated from the 1998 filing listing the structure
owner as Continental Television Network, Inc., until September 9,
7. Section 503(b) of the Act provides that any person who
willfully fails to comply substantially with the terms and conditions
of any license, or willfully fails to comply with any of the
provisions of the Act or of any rule, regulation or order issued by
the Commission thereunder, shall be liable for a forfeiture penalty.
The term "willful" as used in Section 503(b) has been interpreted to
mean simply that the acts or omissions are committed knowingly.4
8. Section 303(q) of the Act requires antenna structure owners
to maintain lighting of antenna structures as required by the
Commission. The Commission's antenna structure construction, marking
and lighting requirements operate in concert with FAA regulations to
ensure that antenna structures do not present hazards to air
navigation. Generally, Sections 17.6(a), 17.21 and 17.23 of the Rules
require owners of antenna structures located close to airports or that
are greater than 200 feet in height to comply with prescribed painting
and lighting specifications designed to ensure air safety. Because of
the substantial public safety issues involved, Section 17.47 of the
Rules further requires antenna structure owners to monitor lights
daily or install automatic alarm systems to ensure lights function
properly, and Section 17.47(a)(2) specifically requires antenna
structure owners to properly maintain an automatic alarm system
designed to detect any failure of such lights and to provide
indication of such failure to the owner. Antenna structure owners are
also required, pursuant to Section 17.56 of the Rules, to maintain
lighting equipment and replace or repair inoperative lights,
indicators and control and alarm systems as soon as practicable.
Additionally, Section 17.48(a) requires antenna structure owners to
immediately notify the FAA of any observed or otherwise known
extinguishment or improper functioning of any top steady burning light
or any flashing obstruction light, regardless of its position on the
antenna structure, not corrected within 30 minutes. The FAA then
issues a Notice to Airmen (``NOTAM'') for a period of 15 days advising
aircraft that there is an antenna structure at a specific location
with a temporary light outage. Section 17.57 further requires antenna
structure owners to immediately notify the Commission using FCC Form
854 upon any change in ownership information to facilitate contact if
9. Max Media failed to detect an extinguished top high-
intensity light on it 244 meter structure located in proximity to two
airports, failed to notify the local station manager that there was an
extinguished top light on the structure during the 3 days that the
light was observed extinguished, and failed to notify the FAA of the
extinquishment. Max Media's failure to update the ASR ownership
report complicated efforts to notify it of the serious potential
hazard to air navigation posed by the extinguished light.
10. Based on the evidence before us, we find that Max Media
apparently willfully violated Sections 17.21, 17.47(a)(2), and 17.57
of the Rules by failing to exhibit the prescribed antenna structure
lighting, failing to properly maintain an operating automatic alarm
system to indicate when the structure lighting is not operating, and
failing to notify the FCC of the change in ownership of the antenna
11. The base forfeiture amount set by The Commission's
Forfeiture Policy Statement and Amendment of Section 1.80 of the Rules
to Incorporate the Forfeiture Guidelines ("Forfeiture Policy
Statement"),5 and Section 1.80 of the Commissions Rules,6 for failure
to comply with prescribed lighting is $10,000 and for 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 Act,7 which include
the nature, circumstances, extent, and gravity of the violation(s),
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
statutory factors to the instant case, a $13,000 forfeiture is
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES
12. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED THAT, pursuant to Section 503(b)
of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and Sections 0.111,
0.311 and 1.80 of the Rules, Max Media of Montana, LLC, is hereby
NOTIFIED of its APPARENT LIABILITY FOR A FORFEITURE in the amount of
thirteen thousand dollars ($13,000) for apparently willfully violating
Sections 17.21, 17.47(a)(2), and 17.57 of the Rules.8
13. 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, Max Media of Montana, LLC, SHALL PAY the full
amount of the proposed forfeiture or SHALL FILE a written statement
seeking reduction or cancellation of the proposed forfeiture.
14. 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 must note NAL/Acct. No. 200232900002 and FRN
15. The response, if any, must be mailed to the Federal
Communications Commission, Enforcement Bureau, Technical and Public
Safety Division, 445 12th Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20554, and
must note NAL/Acct. No. 200232900002.
16. 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 submitted.
17. Requests for payment of the full amount of this Notice of
Apparent Liability under an installment plan should be sent to: Chief,
Revenue and Receivable Operations Group, 445 12th Street, S.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20554.9
18. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT a copy of this NOTICE OF APPARENT
LIABILITY shall be sent by Certified Mail No. 7001 2510 0007 6500 1049
/ Return Receipt Requested to Max media of Montana, LLC, 900 Laskin
Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23451.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
District Director, Seattle Office
1 47 U.S.C. § 303(q) (Antenna structure owners shall maintain the
painting and lighting of antenna structures as prescribed by the
2 47 C.F.R. §§ 17.21, 17.47(a)(2), and 17.57.
3 47 U.S.C. § 503(b).
4 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 or any
rule or regulation of the Commission authorized by this Act...." See
Southern California Broadcasting Co., 6 FCC Rcd 4387 (1991).
5 12 FCC Rcd 17087 (1997), recon. denied, 15 FCC Rcd 303 (1999).
6 47 C.F.R. § 1.80.
7 47 U.S.C. § 503(b)(2)(D).
47 U.S.C. § 503(b); 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.111, 0.311, 1.80, 17.21,
17.47(a)(2), and 17.57.
9 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.1914.