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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of ) File Number EB-02-OR-387
Jesse C. Ross and Ernestine A. ) NAL/Acct. No.200332620013
Licensee of Broadcast Station ) FRN 0008-2084-15
WSAO(AM) and )
Owner of the Antenna Structure
at N34° 36' 56'' x W089° 56'
NOTICE OF APPARENT LIABILITY FOR FORFEITURE
Released: March 18, 2003
By the Enforcement Bureau, New Orleans Office:
1. In this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture
(``NAL''), we find Jesse C. Ross and Ernestine A. Ross
(``Ross''), licensee of radio station WSAO(AM), Senatobia,
Mississippi and owner of the antenna structure at North 34°
36' 56'' latitude, West 089° 56' 09'' longitude, apparently
liable for a forfeiture in the amount of twenty-one thousand
dollars ($21,000) for willful violation of Sections 11.35(a)
and 73.3526(c)(1) of the Commission's Rules (``Rules''), and
willful and repeated violation of Section 17.4(a) of the
Rules.1 Specifically, we find Ross apparently liable for
failing to maintain operational Emergency Alert System
(``EAS'') equipment, failing to register its antenna
structure, and failing to make all of the required documents
of the public inspection file available during regular
2. On November 20, 2002, an agent from the FCC
Enforcement Bureau's New Orleans Office inspected WSAO(AM).
At the time of the inspection, the station's EAS equipment
was not functioning because the encoder/decoder unit was not
connected to any operating receivers in order to monitor
incoming alert signals or tests. Station personnel were
unable to produce any logs noting that EAS tests were sent
or received, or any notation that the unit had been removed
from service for repair. In addition, the antenna structure
registration number was not displayed at the base of the
structure, although the structure is 205 feet in height and
is painted and lighted. The antenna structure did not
appear in the FCC's Antenna Structure Registration records
and station personnel could provide no evidence that the
antenna structure had been registered. Mr. Ross later
acknowledged that Ross owned the antenna structure.
Finally, the station's public inspection file consisted of a
box of loose papers that contained only the station's
contour map and licensee renewal information.
3. Section 11.35(a) of the Rules states that broadcast
stations and cable systems and wireless cable 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 that
the stations or systems are in operation. On November 20,
2002, the station's EAS equipment was not operational as the
encoder/decoder was not attached to operating receivers to
monitor for alerts. In addition, there were no entries in
the station's log to indicate any problem or malfunction of
the EAS equipment as required by Section 11.35(b) of the
4. Section 17.4(a) of the Rules requires that the
owner of any proposed or existing structure that requires
notice of proposed construction to the Federal Aviation
Administration (``FAA'') must register the structure with
the Commission. Ross is the owner of this antenna
structure. Ross' antenna structure requires notice to the
FAA, and thus Commission registration, because the
structure's height exceeded 200 feet.3 Ross did not have
their antenna structure in Senatobia, Mississippi registered
with the Commission.
5. Section 73.3526(c)(1) of the Rules requires that a
station's public inspection file be available for inspection
at any time during regular business hours. During regular
business hours on November 20, 2002, papers identified by
station personnel as the station's public inspection file
contained only two of the required items: the contour map
for WSAO(AM) and the most recent license renewal.
6. Based on the evidence before us, we find Ross
willfully4 violated Sections 11.35(a) and 73.3526(c)(1) of
the Rules and willfully and repeatedly5 violated Section
17.4(a) of the Rules by failing to maintain operational EAS
equipment, failing to register their antenna structure, and
failing to have all required documents in the station's
public inspection file available for inspection at any time
during regular business hours.
7. Pursuant to Section 1.80(b)(4) of the Rules,5 the
base forfeiture amount for failing to have EAS equipment
installed or operational is $8,000, the base forfeiture
amount for failure to register the antenna structure
(failure to file required forms) is $3,000, and the base
forfeiture amount for public inspection file violations is
$10,000. 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 Communications Act of 1934,
as amended (``Act''), 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.6 Considering the entire
record and applying the factors listed above, this case
warrants a $21,000 forfeiture.
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES
8. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED THAT, pursuant to
Section 503(b) of the Act,7 and Sections 0.111, 0.311 and
1.80 of the Rules,8 Jesse C. Ross and Ernestine A. Ross are
hereby NOTIFIED of this APPARENT LIABILITY FOR A FORFEITURE
in the amount of twenty-one thousand dollars ($21,000) for
willful violation of Sections 11.35(a) and 73.3526(c)(1) of
the Rules and willful and repeated violation of Section
17.4(a) of the Rules by failing to maintain operational EAS
equipment, failing to register the antenna structure, and
failing to have all required documents of the station's
public inspection file available for inspection during
regular business hours.
9. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT, pursuant to Section
1.80 of the Rules, within thirty days of the release date of
this NAL, Jesse C. Ross and Ernestine A. Ross SHALL PAY the
full amount of the proposed forfeiture or SHALL FILE a
written statement seeking reduction or cancellation of the
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. and FRN referenced
above. Requests for payment of the full amount of this NAL
under an installment plan should be sent to: Chief, Revenue
and Receivables Operations Group, 445 12th Street, S.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20554.9
11. The response, if any, must be mailed to Federal
Communications Commission, Office of the Secretary, 445 12th
Street S.W., Washington, DC 20554, Attn: Enforcement Bureau-
Technical & Public Safety Division and MUST INCLUDE THE
NAL/Acct. No. referenced above.
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 (``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
13. 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 Technical &
Public Safety 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.
14. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT a copy of this NAL shall
be sent by regular mail and Certified Mail Return Receipt
Requested to Jesse C. Ross and Ernestine A. Ross, P.O. Box
190, Senatobia, Mississippi 38668.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
James C. Hawkins
District Director, New Orleans
1 47 C.F.R. §§ 11.35(a), 17.4(a), and 73.3526(c)(1).
2 47 C.F.R. § 11.35(b).
3 See 47 C.F.R. § 17.7(a).
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 . . . .'' See
Southern California Broadcasting Co., 6 FCC Rcd 4387-88
5 The 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.'' 47
U.S.C. § 312(f)(2).
5 47 C.F.R. § 1.80(b)(4).
6 47 U.S.C. § 503(b)(2)(D).
7 47 U.S.C. § 503(b).
8 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.111, 0.311, 1.80.
9 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.1914.