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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of )
Willis Broadcasting Corporation )
File No. EB-01-OR-052
Greenwood, Mississippi )
NAL/Acct. No. 200132620004
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 Willis Broadcasting Corporation (``Willis''), licensee of FM
broadcast station WGRM-FM, apparently violated Sections 1.89(b),
11.35(a), 17.4(a)(2), and 73.3526(c) of the Commission's Rules
(``Rules'')1 by failing to respond to Commission correspondence,
failing to ensure that Emergency Alert System (``EAS'') equipment
was installed and operating, failing to register an existing
antenna structure by July 1, 1998, and failing to ensure that the
station's public inspection file was available at all times
during normal business hours. We conclude that Willis is
apparently liable for forfeiture in the amount of twenty-five
thousand dollars ($25,000).
2. On April 24, 2001, an agent from the Commission's New
Orleans Field Office (``Field Office'') inspected FM broadcast
station WGRM-FM. During this inspection, the agent determined
that the EAS equipment was not properly installed or capable of
monitoring or receiving EAS messages, the station had failed to
register an existing antenna structure by July 1, 1998, and that
the station failed to ensure that the station's public inspection
file was available at all times during normal business hours.
3. On May 3, 2001, a Notice of Violation (``NOV'') was
issued to Willis citing these deficiencies. No reply to this
notice was received. On May 25, 2001, a letter was sent by
Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested to Willis. This
correspondence stated that no reply had been received to the NOV
issued on May 3, 2001, and included a copy of the NOV.
Additionally, the letter cautioned the licensee concerning
failure to reply to Commission correspondence. A signed
Certified Mail Receipt evidenced delivery of the letter. No reply
to this correspondence or the original NOV has been received.
4. Section 1.89(b) of the Rules requires licensees to
respond in writing within ten days from receipt of a notice from
5. Section 11.35(a) of the Rules states in part that,
``[b]roadcast 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.''
6. Section 17.4(a)(2) of the Rules requires the owners of
existing antenna structures to register with the Commission, and
have the Antenna Structure Registration Number displayed in a
7. Section 73.3526(c) of the Rules requires the station's
public inspection file to be available at all times during normal
8. Based on the evidence before us, we find that on April
24, 2001, Willis willfully2 violated Sections 11.35(a),
17.4(a)(2) and 73.3526(c) of the Rules by failing to have EAS
equipment installed so that monitoring and transmitting functions
were available, failing to register an existing antenna structure
by July 1, 1998, and failing to make the station's public
inspection file available during normal business hours. In
addition, we find that Willis willfully violated Section 1.89(b)
of the Rules by failing to respond to the Notice of Violation
dated May 3, 2001, or our correspondence dated May 25, 2001.
9. Pursuant to Section 1.80(b)(4) of the Rules, Guidelines
for Assessing Forfeiture, the base forfeiture amount for failure
to respond to Commission communications is $4,000, the base
forfeiture amount for failure to install and have operating EAS
equipment is $8,000, the base forfeiture amount for failure to
register an antenna structure is $3,000 (failure to file required
forms or information), and finally, the base forfeiture amount
for violation of the public file rules is $10,000.3 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
the base forfeiture amounts. Therefore, a total forfeiture in
the amount of $25,000 is warranted.
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES
10. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED THAT, pursuant to
Section 503(b) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended,5
and Sections 0.111, 0.311 and 1.80 of the Commission's
Rules,6Willis Broadcasting Corporation, is hereby NOTIFIED of its
APPARENT LIABILITY FOR A FORFEITURE in the amount of twenty-five
thousand dollars ($25,000) for violating Sections 1.89(b),
11.35(a), 17.4(a)(2) and 73.3526(c) of the Commission's Rules. 7
11. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT, pursuant to Section 1.80 of
the Rules8, within thirty days of the release date of this NOTICE
OF APPARENT LIABILITY, Willis Broadcasting Corporation, SHALL PAY
the full amount of the proposed forfeiture or SHALL FILE a
written statement seeking reduction or cancellation of the
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. referenced in the letterhead above.
13. 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. referenced in the letterhead.
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; 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.
15. 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,
16. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT a copy of this NOTICE OF
APPARENT LIABILITY shall be sent by Certified Mail, Return
Receipt Requested, to Willis Broadcasting Corporation, WGRM-FM,
Suite 400, 645 Church Street, Norfolk, VA 23510.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
James C. Hawkins
New Orleans Field Office
1 47 C.F.R. §§ 1.89(b), 11.35(a), 17.4(a)(2), 73.3526(c).
22 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).
33 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. §§ 1.89(b), 11.35(a), 17.4(a)(2) and 73.3526(c).
8 47 C.F.R. §1.80.
9 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.1914.