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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of )
Sycamore Valley Broadcasting, ) File Number EB-02-AT-050
Inc. ) NAL/Acct. No. 200232480001
Radio Station WQSV ) FRN 0003-7542-56
P. O. Box 619 )
Ashland City, TN 37015 )
NOTICE OF APPARENT LIABILITY FOR FORFEITURE
Released: April 30, 2002
By the Enforcement Bureau, Atlanta Office:
1. In this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, we
find that Sycamore Valley Broadcasting, Inc. ("Sycamore")
apparently violated Sections 11.52(d), 11.61(a), 17.50, 73.1400,
and 73.1745(a) of the Commission's Rules.1 WQSV failed to:
monitor two Emergency Alert System (``EAS'') sources, send and
receive required EAS tests, re-paint its antenna structure to
restore good visibility, maintain operating transmission system
monitoring equipment, and reduce transmitter power between the
times of local sunset and sunrise. We conclude that Sycamore
Valley Broadcasting, Inc. is apparently liable for a forfeiture
in the amount of twenty five thousand dollars ($25,000).
2. On or about October 26, 1995, the Federal Communications
Commission (``FCC'') Enforcement Bureau's Atlanta Field Office
("Field Office") received information that radio station WQSV in
Ashland City, Tennessee, failed to reduce transmitter power after
sunset as required by the station authorization. On October 26,
1995, the Field Office sent to Sycamore, licensee of radio
station WQSV, a letter concerning this alleged violation of
Section 73.1745(a) of the Rules2 for failure to reduce power at
sunset. The letter did not require a response from the licensee
and the Field Office received none.
n January 7, 1998, the Field Office received another complaint
alleging WQSV's failure to reduce power at night. The Field
Office sent Sycamore a letter via Certified mail on March 16,
1998, concerning the alleged overpower nighttime operation. The
letter did not require a response from the licensee and the Field
Office received none. The Certified Return Receipt was signed
with the name of Sycamore's president and dated received on March
4. On January 26, 1999, an agent of the Field Office
monitored WQSV's signal continuously from before until after
local sunset. Field strength measurements showed that WQSV did
not reduce power at sunset as required by the station
authorization, but instead operated at greater than daytime power
until station sign-off at approximately 10:00 pm CST.
5. On January 27, 1999, the Field Office agent conducted a
detailed station inspection of WQSV. The agent observed fourteen
violations of FCC Rules, including failure to provide
transmission system monitoring and control, EAS violations, and
visibility of the paint on the tower structure.
6. On February 5, 1999, the Field Office issued to Sycamore
an Official Notice of Violation for the violations observed at
WQSV on January 26 and 27, 1999.
7. On February 17, 1999, the Field Office received a
written response from Sycamore, dated February 10, 1999,
indicating that Sycamore either had corrected, or would correct
upon receipt of paperwork and repair parts, all listed
violations. The reply was signed with the name ``Richard
Albright'' as President, Sycamore Valley Broadcasting, Inc.
8. On November 19, 2001, the Atlanta office received
another complaint that WQSV failed to reduce power at night. The
same day, the Field Office sent another letter to Sycamore via
Certified mail concerning the alleged overpower nighttime
operation and also noting that the Field Office had previously
issued to Sycamore a Notice of Violation for this same offense in
February, 1999. The letter did not require a response and the
Field Office received none. The Certified Return Receipt showed
a signature, ``Richard Albright,'' and received date of November
9. On February 4, 2002, the Field Office agent again
monitored WQSV. Field strength measurements taken by the agent
showed that WQSV did not reduce power at sunset as required. The
agent made measurements from 4:00 pm CST until station sign-off
at 7:00 pm CST, during which time WQSV's signal remained at
greater than daytime power. Local sunset time for February is
5:30 pm CST.
10. On February 5, 2002, the Field Office agent again
monitored WQSV. The agent made field strength measurements from
station sign-on before sunrise at 6:00 am CST until 8:00 am CST,
during which time WQSV operated at greater than daytime power.
Local sunrise time for February is 6:30 am CST.
11. Still on February 5, 2002, the Field Office agent
conducted a detailed station inspection of WQSV with station
owner, Mr. Richard Albright. The station inspection revealed
essentially the same violations observed during the 1999 station
inspection, namely: failure to reduce power between local sunset
and sunrise; failure to provide transmission system monitoring
and control; inadequate tower painting; failure to monitor two
EAS sources; and failure to send and receive required EAS tests.
12. Section 11.52(d) of the Rules requires broadcast
stations to monitor two EAS broadcast sources in accordance with
the State EAS Plan.3 WQSV only had the capability of monitoring
one broadcast source. Section 11.61(a) of the Rules requires
broadcast stations to send and receive weekly and monthly EAS
tests.4 The station's sole EAS receiver was turned off at the
time of the station inspection. WQSV could neither send nor
receive EAS tests and had no logs or records to indicate the
station had ever sent or received the required EAS tests.
Section 17.50 of the Rules requires owners with antenna
structures requiring painting and lighting to clean and re-paint
their antenna structures as often as necessary in order to
maintain good visibility.5 WQSV's antenna structure had over 60
percent of its orange and white paint flaked off, and the colored
bands were indistinguishable when viewed at one-fourth of a mile
from the tower. Section 73.1400 of the Rules holds the licensee
responsible for operation within tolerances specified by the
Rules and in accordance with the station authorization, and to
provide sufficient transmission system monitoring and control
capability so as to ensure compliance.6 WQSV's transmitter
remote control equipment had inoperative metering rendering the
station operator incapable of determining operating power in
either daytime or nighttime modes. Section 73.1745(a) of the
Rules states that no broadcast station shall operate at times, or
with modes or power, other than those specified and made part of
the license.7 WQSV operated in excess of daytime power on
January 26, 1999, from local sunset until 10:00 pm CST. WQSV
operated in excess of daytime power on February 4, 2002, from
local sunset at 5:30 pm CST until station sign-off at 7:00 pm
CST. WQSV operated in excess of daytime power on February 5,
2002, from station sign-on at 6:00 am CST until local sunrise at
6:30 am CST.
13. Based on the evidence before us, we find that on
February 4 and 5, 2002, Sycamore Valley Broadcasting, Inc.
repeatedly8 and willfully9 violated Sections 11.52(d), 11.61(a),
17.50, 73.1400 and 73.1745(a) of the Commission's Rules.10
14. Pursuant to Section 1.80(b)(4) of the Commission's
Rules, the base forfeiture amounts for the violations cited in
this notice are: $10,000 for failure to repaint the tower
(failure to comply with prescribed lighting and/or marking),
$8,000 for non-operational EAS equipment, $4,000 for operating
with excessive power at night (exceeding power limits), and
$3,000 for violation of transmitter control and metering
requirements.11 Section 503(b)(2)(D) of the Act requires us to
take into account ``... 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.''12 The
Field Office officially notified Sycamore of each of these
violations as a result of the station inspection and monitoring
in January, 1999. Sycamore responded to the Commission that it
had corrected, or would correct, all of the violations. Sycamore
repeated the same violations as evidenced by the monitoring and
station inspection in February, 2002. Considering the entire
record and applying the statutory factors listed above, this case
warrants a $25,000 forfeiture.
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES
15. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED THAT, pursuant to Section
503(b) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended,13 and
Sections 0.111, 0.311 and 1.80 of the Commission's Rules,14
Sycamore Valley Broadcasting, Inc. is hereby NOTIFIED of its
APPARENT LIABILITY FOR A FORFEITURE in the amount of twenty five
thousand dollars ($25,000) for willful and repeated violation of
Sections 11.52(d), 11.61(a), 17.50, 73.1400 and 73.1745(a) of the
16. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT, pursuant to Section 1.80 of
the Commission's Rules,16 within thirty days of the release date
of this NOTICE OF APPARENT LIABILITY, Sycamore Valley
Broadcasting, Inc. SHALL PAY the full amount of the proposed
forfeiture or SHALL FILE a written statement seeking reduction or
cancellation of the proposed forfeiture.
17. 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 INCLUDE
the NAL/Acct. No. and FRN referenced in the letterhead above.
18. 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. and FRN referenced in the letterhead above.
19. 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
20. 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 Operations Group, 445 12th Street, S.W., Washington,
21. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT a copy of this NOTICE OF
APPARENT LIABILITY shall be sent by Certified Mail Return Receipt
Requested to Sycamore Valley Broadcasting, Inc. at Radio Station
WQSV, P. O. Box 619, Ashland City, TN 37015.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Fred L. Broce
Atlanta Office, Enforcement Bureau
1 47 C.F.R. §§ 11.52(d), 11.61(a), 17.50, 73.1400, and 73.1745(a)
2 47 C.F.R. § 73.1745(a)
3 47 C.F.R. § 11.52(d)
4 47 C.F.R. § 11.61(a)
5 47 C.F.R. § 17.50
6 47 C.F.R. § 73.1400
7 47 C.F.R. § 73.1745(a)
8 Section 312(f)(2) of the Act, 47 U.S.C. § 312(f)(2), which
applies equally to Section 503(b) of the Act, provides that
``[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.''
9 Section 312(f)(1) of the Act, 47 U.S.C. § 312(f)(1), which
applies equally 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).
10 47 C.F.R. §§ 11.52(d), 11.61(a), 17.50, 73.1400 and 73.1745(a)
11 47 C.F.R. § 1.80(b)(4)
12 47 U.S.C. § 503 (b)(2)(D)
13 47 U.S.C. § 503(b).
14 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.111, 0.311, 1.80.
15 47 C.F.R. §§ 11.52(d), 11.61(a), 17.50, 73.1400 and 73.1745(a)
16 47 C.F.R. § 1.80.
17 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.1914.