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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of )
KPAL Television Inc. ) File No. EB-05-LA-264
Licensee of Station KPAL-LP ) NAL/Acct. No:
Palmdale, CA ) 200632900003
Facility ID #22179 )
NOTICE OF APPARENT LIABILITY FOR FORFEITURE
Released: February 9, 2006
By the District Director, Los Angeles Office, Western Region,
1.1. In this Notice of Apparent Liability for
Forfeiture (``NAL''), we find that KPAL Television Inc.
("KPAL"), licensee of KPAL-LP, a Class A Television station in
Palmdale, California, apparently willfully and repeatedly
violated Section 11.35(a) of the Commission's Rules
(``Rules''),1 by failing to ensure the operational readiness of
KPAL-LP's Emergency Alert System (``EAS'') equipment. We
conclude, pursuant to Section 503(b) of the Communications Act
of 1934, as amended (``Act''),2 that KPAL is apparently liable
for a forfeiture in the amount of eight thousand dollars
1.2. On November 1, 2005, an agent from the Enforcement
Bureau's Los Angeles Office conducted a broadcast inspection of
KPAL-LP's EAS equipment. The inspection revealed that KPAL-LP's
EAS equipment was not operational. Specifically, the agent
found that the EAS equipment was not connected to the station
transmitter, that the EAS equipment was programmed to monitor
only one local primary (``LP-1'') source, and that the station
had not received or transmitted a required monthly test
(``RMT'') for over 18 months.
1.3. On November 2, 2005, the Los Angeles Office
arranged for the LP-1 to transmit a required weekly test
(``RWT''). The test revealed that KPAL-LP's EAS equipment
failed to receive the RWT.
1.4. On November 3, 2005, the Los Angeles Office
received a fax from KPAL stating that the EAS equipment at KPAL-
LP had been installed and was now receiving the LP-1 and LP-2
stations.3 Later that day the Los Angeles Office received a
telephone call from KPAL-LP's station engineer. He stated that
subsequent to the apparently successful installation of the EAS
equipment earlier that day, the EAS equipment battery had
sequentially failed causing the EAS equipment to lose all data
in the system memory.
1.5. On November 4, 2005, the Los Angeles Office
received a telephone call from KPAL-LP's station engineer. He
stated that the EAS equipment was not functioning properly and
needed to be returned to the factory for repairs. On November
10, 2005, KPAL faxed the Los Angeles District Director a copy of
the Return Authorization Form from the EAS equipment
1.6. Los Angeles agents had previously inspected KPAL-
LP's EAS equipment on May 25, 2004, and June 4, 2004. On both
occasions, the agents observed that the EAS equipment was not
connected to an antenna, that the equipment was not connected to
the station transmitter, and that the equipment was not
programmed to receive the designated LP-1 or LP-2 sources.
Additionally, at both prior inspections, the station did not
have an EAS log, a Los Angeles County EAS plan or an EAS
handbook. During both of the 2004 inspections, KPAL-LP staff
was informed by the Los Angeles agents that KPAL-LP was required
to have operational EAS equipment.
1.7. Section 503(b) of the Act provides that any person
who willfully fails to comply substantially with the terms and
conditions of any license, or willfully fails to comply with any
of the provisions of the Act or of any rule, regulation or order
issued by the Commission thereunder, shall be liable for a
forfeiture penalty. The term ``willful'' as used in Section
503(b) has been interpreted to mean simply that the acts or
omissions are committed knowingly.4 The term ``repeated'' means
the commission or omission of such act more than once or for
more than one day.5
1.8. The Rules provide that every AM, FM and Television
broadcast station is part of the nationwide EAS network and is
categorized as a participating national EAS source unless the
station affirmatively requests authority to not participate.6
The EAS provides the President and state and local governments
with the capability to provide immediate and emergency
communications and information to the general public.7 State
and local area plans identify local primary sources responsible
for coordinating carriage of common emergency messages from
sources such as the National Weather Service or local emergency
management officials.8 Required monthly and weekly tests
originate from EAS Local or State Primary sources and must be
retransmitted by the participating station.
1.9. Section 11.35(a) of the Rules requires all
broadcast stations to ensure that EAS encoders, EAS decoders and
attention signal generating and receiving equipment is installed
and operational so that the monitoring and transmitting
functions are available during the times the station is in
operation. Broadcast stations must also determine the cause of
any failure to receive required monthly and weekly EAS tests,
and must indicate in the station's log why any required tests
were not received and when defective equipment is removed and
restored to service.9
1.10. Section 11.61(a)(1) and (2) of the Rules requires
broadcast stations to (a) receive monthly EAS tests from
designated local primary EAS sources and retransmit the monthly
test within 60 minutes of its receipt and (b) conduct tests of
the EAS header and EOM codes at least once a week at random days
and times.10 The requirement that stations monitor, receive and
retransmit the required EAS tests ensures the operational
integrity of the EAS system in the event of an actual disaster.
Appropriate entries must be made in the broadcast station log as
specified in Sections 73.1820 and 73.1840, indicating reasons
why any tests are not received or transmitted.11
1.11. Inspections by Los Angeles agents revealed that
KPAL failed to ensure the operational readiness of the KPAL-LP
EAS equipment from May 2004 to November 2005. On May 25, 2004,
June 4, 2004, and November 1, 2005, Los Angeles agents informed
KPAL staff that KPAL-LP was required to have operational EAS
equipment. Therefore, KPAL's violation was willful. The
violation occurred on more than one day, therefore, it is
repeated. Based on the evidence before us, we find that KPAL
Television Inc., apparently willfully and repeatedly violated
Section 11.35(a) of the Rules, by failing to ensure the
operational readiness of KPAL's EAS equipment.
1.12. The Commission's Forfeiture Policy Statement and
Amendment of Section 1.80 of the Rules to Incorporate the
Forfeiture Guidelines (``Forfeiture Policy Statement'') and
Section 1.80(b)(4) of the Rules sets forth the base forfeiture
amounts for various violations of the Commission's Rules. The
base forfeiture for EAS equipment not installed or operational
is $8,000. 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 Act, which include the nature,
circumstances, extent, and gravity of the violation, and with
respect to the violator, the degree of culpability, and any
history of prior offenses, ability to pay, and other such
matters as justice may require.''12 Applying the Forfeiture
Policy Statement, Section 1.80 and the statutory factors, we
conclude that the KPAL Television Inc., is apparently liable for
a forfeiture in the amount of $8,000.
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES
1.13. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED THAT, pursuant to
Section 503(b) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended,
and Sections 0.111, 0.311 and 1.80 of the Commission's Rules,
KPAL Television Inc., is hereby NOTIFIED of its APPARENT
LIABILITY FOR A FORFEITURE in the amount of eight thousand
dollars ($8,000) for violating Section 11.35(a) of the
1.14. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT, pursuant to Section
1.80 of the Commission's Rules, within thirty days of the
release date of this Notice of Apparent Liability for
Forfeiture, KPAL Television Inc., SHALL PAY the full amount of
the proposed forfeiture or SHALL FILE a written statement
seeking reduction or cancellation of the proposed forfeiture.
1.15. Payment of the forfeiture must be made by check or
similar instrument, payable to the order of the Federal
Communications Commission. The payment must include the
NAL/Acct. No. and FRN No. referenced above. Payment by check or
money order may be mailed to Federal Communications Commission,
P.O. Box 358340, Pittsburgh, PA 15251-8340. Payment by
overnight mail may be sent to Mellon Bank /LB 358340, 500 Ross
Street, Room 1540670, Pittsburgh, PA 15251. Payment by wire
transfer may be made to ABA Number 043000261, receiving
bank Mellon Bank, and account number 911-6106.
1.16. The response, if any, must be mailed to Federal
Communications Commission, Enforcement Bureau, Western Region,
Los Angeles Office, 18000 Studebaker Rd., Suite 660, Cerritos,
California 90703 and must include the NAL/Acct. No. referenced
17. 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
18. Requests for payment of the full amount of this
Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture under an installment
plan should be sent to: Associate Managing Director - Financial
Operations, 445 12th Street, S.W., Room 1A625, Washington, D.C.
19. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT this NOTICE OF APPARENT
LIABILITY shall be sent, by Certified Mail, Return Receipt
Requested to KPAL Television Inc., at its address of record.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Los Angeles Office
1 47 C.F.R. § 11.35(a).
2 47 U.S.C. § 503(b).
3 KPAL stated that it was also in the process of requesting a
wavier to monitor FM station 106.7 MHz as one of its LP stations.
44 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 or any rule or regulation of the Commission authorized
by this Act....'' See Southern California Broadcasting Co., 6 FCC
Rcd 4387 (1991).
5 Section 312(f)(2) of the Act, 47 U.S.C. § 312(f)(2), which also
applies to violations for which forfeitures are assessed under
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
6 47 C.F.R. §§ 11.11 and 11.41.
7 47 C.F.R. §§ 11.1 and 11.21.
8 47 C.F.R. § 11.18. State EAS plans contain guidelines that
must be followed by broadcast and cable personnel, emergency
officials and National Weather Service personnel to activate the
EAS for state and local emergency alerts. The state plans
include the EAS header codes and messages to be transmitted by
the primary state, local and relay EAS sources.
9 47 C.F.R. § 11.35(a)(a) and (b).
10 The required monthly and weekly tests are required to conform
to the procedures in the EAS Operational Handbook. See also,
Amendment of Part 11 of the Commission's Rules Regarding the
Emergency Alert System, 17 FCC Rcd 4055 (2002) (effective May 16,
2002, the required monthly EAS test must be retransmitted within
60 minutes of receipt).
11 47 C.F.R. §§ 73.1820 and 73.1840.
12 47 U.S.C. § 503(b)(2)(D).
13 47 U.S.C. § 503(b), 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.111, 0.311, 1.80, 11.35(a).
14 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.1914.