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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of ) File Number EB-03-TP-192
Blountstown Communications, ) NAL/Acct.No. 200432700006
Inc. ) FRN 0000040428
Licensee of Radio Stations WYBT )
(AM) & )
NOTICE OF APPARENT LIABILITY FOR FORFEITURE
Released: December 16, 2003
By the Enforcement Bureau, Tampa Office:
1. In this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture
(``NAL''), we find Blountstown Communications, Inc.
(``Blountstown''), licensee of AM radio station WYBT and FM
radio station WPHK, Blountstown, Florida, apparently liable
for a forfeiture in the amount of twenty-five thousand
dollars ($25,000) for willful violation of Sections 11.35,
73.49 and 73.3526(c) of the Commission's Rules (``Rules'').1
Specifically, we find Blountstown apparently liable for
failing to ensure that the Emergency Alert System (``EAS'')
equipment was operational, failing to enclose the base of
the antenna system with a fence and failing to make
available a complete public file.
2. On April 7, 2003, agents from the FCC Enforcement
Bureau's Tampa Field Office (``Tampa Office'') inspected
station WYBT (AM) and WPHK (FM) in Blountstown, Florida.
The agents found the station's EAS equipment inoperative,
the antenna system's high RF potential exposed and
accessible and a public file which consisted only of a FCC
station license and tower registration.
4. Section 11.35 of the Rules requires broadcast
stations to ensure that their EAS equipment is operational
at all times the station is on the air. On April 7, 2003,
the EAS equipment was not operational and the last evidence
of operation in the EAS log was dated April 1999. In
addition, station records contained no entries indicating
the EAS equipment had been removed from service for repair.
5. Section 73.49 of the Rules requires AM station
towers with radio frequency potential at the base (Series
Fed, Folded unipole and insulated base antennas) to be
enclosed with effective locked fences or other enclosures.
On April 7, 2003, there was no fence around the folded
unipole antenna and according to the station's management, a
fence was never constructed when the new tower was built in
6. Section 73.3526(a)(2) of the Rules2 requires that
every permittee or licensee of an AM, FM, TV or Class A TV
station in the commercial broadcast services shall maintain
a public inspection file containing the material, relating
to that station, described in paragraphs (e)(1) through
(e)(10) and paragraph (e)(13) of this section. Section
73.3526(c) requires the public file be available for public
inspection at any time during regular business hours. On
April 7, 2003, during regular business hours, the only
documents available in the public file folder were the FCC
station license and antenna tower registration.
7. Based on the evidence before us, we find that
Blountstown willfully3 violated Section 11.35, 73.49 and
73.3526(c) of the Rules by failing to ensure the operation
of the EAS equipment, failing to enclose the base of the
antenna system in a fence and failing to make available a
complete public file.
8. Section 1.80(b)(4) of the Rules4 sets forth the
base forfeiture amounts for various violations of the
Commission's Rules. Section 1.80(b)(4) of the Rules sets
the base forfeiture amount at $8,000 for EAS violations,
$7,000 for tower fencing violations and $10,000 for public
file violations. 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.''5 Considering the entire
record and applying the factors listed above, this case
warrants a $25,000 forfeiture.
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES
9. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED THAT, pursuant to
Section 503(b) of the Act,6 and Sections 0.111, 0.311 and
1.80 of the Rules,7 Blountstown . is hereby NOTIFIED of this
APPARENT LIABILITY FOR A FORFEITURE in the amount of twenty-
five thousand dollars ($25,000) for willful violation of
Sections 11.35, 73.49 and 73.3526(c) of the Rules by failing
to ensure that their EAS equipment was operational, failure
to enclose the base of the tower with a fence and failure to
make available a complete public inspection file. .
10. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT, pursuant to Section
1.80 of the Rules, within thirty days of the release date of
this NAL, Blountstown SHALL PAY the full amount of the
proposed forfeiture or SHALL FILE a written statement
seeking reduction or cancellation of the proposed
11. 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. Request for payment of the full amount of this NAL
under an installment plan should be sent to: Chief, Revenue
and Receivable Operations Group, 445 12th Street, S.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20554.8
12. 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-
Spectrum Enforcement Division, and MUST INCLUDE THE
NAL/Acct. No. and FRN referenced above.
13. 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
14. 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 Spectrum
Enforcement 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.
15. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT a copy of this NAL shall
be sent by regular mail and Certified Mail Return Receipt
Requested to Blountstown Communications, Inc., 20872 N.E.
Kelly Avenue, Blountstown, FL 32424.
Ralph M. Barlow
District Director, Tampa
1 47 C.F.R. §§ 11.35, 73.49 & 73.3526(c).
2 47 C.F.R. § 73.3526(a)(2).
3 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 (1991).
4 47 C.F.R. § 1.80(b)(4).
5 47 U.S.C. § 503 (b)(2)(D).
6 47 U.S.C. § 503(b).
7 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.111, 0.311, 1.80.
8 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.1914.