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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of )
Hancock Broadcasting Corporation)
WBSL (AM) )
File No. EB-01-OR-012
Bay St. Louis, Mississippi 39520)
NAL/Acct. No. 200132620003
NOTICE OF APPARENT LIABILITY FOR FORFEITURE
By the Enforcement Bureau, New Orleans Field Office:
1. In this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, we
find Hancock Broadcasting Corporation (Hancock), licensee of AM
broadcast station WBSL, has apparently violated Sections 11.35(a)
and 73.49 of the Commission's Rules (``Rules'') by failing to
ensure that Emergency Alert System (EAS) equipment was installed
and operating, and failing to enclose the tower within an
effective locked fence or other enclosure.1 We conclude that
Hancock Broadcasting Corporation is apparently liable for
forfeiture in the amount of fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000).
2. On January 24, 2001, an agent from the Commission's New
Orleans Field Office (``Field Office'') inspected AM broadcast
station WBSL. During this inspection, the agent determined that
the EAS equipment was not properly installed or capable of
monitoring or receiving EAS messages, and the station's antenna
structure was not in compliance with the Rules in that the
antenna structure was not enclosed within an effective locked
fence or other enclosure.
3. On January 29, 2001, a Notice of Violation (NOV) was
issued to Hancock citing these deficiencies. On February 20,
2001, Hancock submitted a written reply stating that it now had
EAS equipment properly installed and functioning, and that the
tower site was now enclosed within a chain and padlocked fence.
4. Section 11.35(a) of the Rules states in part that,
``Broadcast stations and cable systems
and wireless systems are responsible for ensuring that EAS
Encoders, EAS Decoders and Attention Signal generating and
receiving equipment used as part of the EAS are installed so that
the monitoring and transmitting functions are available during
the times the stations and systems are in operation.''
5. Section 73.49 of the Rules requires the owners of
antenna towers having radio frequency potential at the base to
enclose the tower within an effective locked fence or other
6. Based on the evidence before us, we find that on
January 24, 2001, Hancock willfully2 violated Sections 11.35(a)
and 73.49 of the Rules by failing to have EAS equipment installed
so that monitoring and transmitting functions were available, and
failing to enclose the tower within an effective locked fence or
7. Pursuant to Section 1.80(b)(4) of the Rules, Guidelines
for Assessing Forfeiture, the base forfeiture amount for failure
to install and have functioning EAS equipment is $8,000, and the
base forfeiture amount for failure to enclose the tower within an
effective locked fence is $7,000.3 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 (``Act''), as amended, 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.4 Applying Section 1.80(b)(4) of the Rules
and statutory factors to the instant case, we find no compelling
evidence to support any adjustments to the base forfeiture
amounts. Therefore, a total forfeiture in the amount of $15,000
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES
8. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED THAT, pursuant to Section
503(b) of the Act,5 and Sections 0.111, 0.311 and 1.80 of the
Commission's Rules,6 Hancock Broadcasting Corporation, is hereby
NOTIFIED of their APPARENT LIABILITY FOR A FORFEITURE in the
amount of fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000) for violating
Sections 11.35(a) and 73.49 of the Commission's Rules, 47 C.F.R.
§§ 11.35(a) and 73.49.
9. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT, pursuant to Section 1.80 of
the Rules7, within thirty days of the release date of this NOTICE
OF APPARENT LIABILITY, Hancock Broadcasting
Corporation, SHALL PAY the full amount of the proposed forfeiture
or SHALL FILE a written statement seeking reduction or
cancellation of the proposed forfeiture.
10. 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. 200132620003.
11. The response, if any, must be mailed to Office of the
Secretary, Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street,
S.W., Washington, D.C. 20554, ATTN: Enforcement Bureau -
Technical and Public Safety Division, and must include the
NAL/Acct. No. 200132620003.
12. 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; 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.
13. Requests for payment of the full amount of this Notice
of Apparent Liability under an installment plan should be sent
to: Federal Communications Commission, Chief, Revenue and
Receivables Operation Group, 445 12th Street, S.W., Washington,
14. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT a copy of this NOTICE OF
APPARENT LIABILITY shall be sent by Certified Mail, Return
Receipt Requested, to Hancock Broadcasting Corporation, WBSL
(AM), 1190 Casino Magic Drive, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi 39520.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
James C. Hawkins
New Orleans Field Office
1 47 C.F.R. §§ 11.35(a), 73.49.
2 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 commission or omission of
any act, means that 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).
3 47. C.F.R. §1.80(b)(4).
4 47 U.S.C. § 503(b)(2)(D).
5 47 U.S.C § 503(b).
6 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.111, 0.311, 1.80.
7 47 C.F.R. §1.80
8 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.1914.