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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of
Rama Communications, Inc. File Number EB-08-TP-0186
Licensee of station WLAA NAL/Acct. No. 200832700017
Ocoee, FL 34761 FRN: 000-50080-16
Facility ID Number: 55006
NOTICE OF APPARENT LIABILITY FOR FORFEITURE
Released: August 4, 2008
By the District Director, Tampa Office, South Central Region, Enforcement
1. In this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture ("NAL"), we find
that Rama Communications, Inc. ("Rama"), licensee of station WLAA, in
Ocoee, Florida, apparently willfully and repeatedly violated Sections
11.35(a) and 73.3526 of the Commission's Rules ("Rules") by failing to
maintain an operational Emergency Alert System ("EAS") and failing to
maintain and make available a complete public inspection file. We
conclude, pursuant to Section 503(b) of the Communications Act of
1934, as amended ("Act"), that Rama is apparently liable for a
forfeiture in the amount of sixteen thousand dollars ($16,000).
2. On May 9, 2008, in response to a complaint, agents from the
Commission's Tampa Office of the Enforcement Bureau ("Tampa Office"),
accompanied by the station's general manager, conducted an inspection
of AM radio station WLAA's main studio in Ocoee, Florida during normal
business hours. The agents observed that the station was not
monitoring the stations assigned to it by the state EAS plan. The
agents also observed that the EAS equipment was not operational. The
general manager attempted to conduct an EAS test, but the test was not
broadcast. The general manager conducted a second test after removing
a jammed printer tape from the unit. However, the second test also was
not broadcast. The general manager was unable to determine the cause
of the EAS equipment malfunction during the course of the inspection.
The station maintained no EAS logs, and there were no other records
showing that an EAS test had ever been sent or received by the station
or indicating how long the unit had been non-operational.
3. During the inspection on May 9, 2008, during normal business hours,
the agents also requested to inspect the station's public inspection
file. The public inspection file did not contain any quarterly issues
programs lists. The general manager was only able to provide a file of
flyers and announcements of local events.
4. Section 503(b) of the Act provides that any person who willfully or
repeatedly fails to comply substantially with the terms and conditions
of any license, or willfully or repeatedly 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) of the Act has
been interpreted to mean simply that the acts or omissions are
committed knowingly. The term "repeated" means the commission or
omission of such act more than once or for more than one day.
5. 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. On May 9, 2008, station WLAA's EAS
equipment was not operational, because it was unable to send an EAS
test. The station's general manager was unable to determine the cause
of the malfunction during the inspection. There were no EAS logs at
the station. There was also no evidence that the station had ever sent
or received any EAS tests and no documentation of when the EAS
equipment became non-operational. Based on the evidence before us, we
find that Rama apparently willfully and repeatedly violated Section
11.35(a) of the Rules by failing to maintain operational EAS
6. Section 73.3526(a)(2) of the Rules requires broadcast stations to
maintain for public inspection, a file containing materials listed in
that section. Section 73.3526(c)(1) of the Rules states that the file
shall be available for public inspection at any time during regular
business hours. Section 73.3526(e)(12) of the Rules requires a list of
programs that have provided the station's most significant treatment
of community issues during the preceding three month period
("Issues/Programs list") to be placed in the public inspection file.
The list shall include a brief narrative describing what issues were
given significant treatment and the programming that provided this
treatment. The description of the programs shall include, but not be
limited to, the time, date, duration, and title of each program in
which the issue was treated. Copies of the lists must be maintained in
the file until final action has been taken on the station's next
renewal application. On May 9, 2008, in response to a request to
inspect the station's public inspection file during normal business
hours, station WLAA was unable to produce any issues/programs lists,
and there was no evidence that the station had ever compiled or
maintained such lists in the public inspection file. Although the
station maintained a folder of flyers and local announcements, this
folder did not include the time or date when the information was
aired, the name of the program, or a description of the local issues.
Based on the evidence before us, we find that Rama apparently
willfully and repeatedly violated Section 73.3526 of the Rules by
failing to maintain a complete public inspection file and apparently
willfully violated Section 73.3526 of the Rules by failing to make
available a complete public inspection file.
7. Pursuant to 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 of the Rules, the
base forfeiture amount for failing to maintain operational EAS
equipment is $8,000 and failing to maintain quarterly issues/programs
lists in the public inspection file is $10,000. Because station WLAA's
public inspection file contained a portion of the items required, a
downward adjustment of the base amount to $4,000 is warranted.
However, because Rama has received two prior Notices of Violation and
two prior Notices of Apparent Liability for violation of Section
73.3526, an upward adjustment to $8,000 is warranted. In assessing the
monetary forfeiture amount, we must also take into account the
statutory factors set forth in Section 503(b)(2)(E) of the Act, which
include the nature, circumstances, extent, and gravity of the
violations, and with respect to the violator, the degree of
culpability, and history of prior offenses, ability to pay, and other
such matters as justice may require. Applying the Forfeiture Policy
Statement, Section 1.80 of the Rules, and the statutory factors to the
instant case, we conclude that Rama is apparently liable for a
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES
8. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to Section 503(b) of the
Act of 1934, as amended, and Sections 0.111, 0.311, 0.314 and 1.80 of the
Commission's Rules, Rama Communications, Inc., is hereby NOTIFIED of this
APPARENT LIABILITY FOR A FORFEITURE in the amount of sixteen thousand
dollars ($16,000) for violations of Sections 11.35(a) and 73.3526 of the
9. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, pursuant to Section 1.80 of the
within thirty days of the release date of this Notice of Apparent
Liability for Forfeiture, Rama Communications, Inc., SHALL PAY the full
amount of the proposed forfeiture or SHALL FILE a written statement
seeking reduction or cancellation of the proposed forfeiture.
10. 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/Account Number and FRN Number referenced
above. Payment by check or money order may be mailed to Federal
Communications Commission, P.O. Box 979088, St. Louis, MO 63197-9000.
Payment by overnight mail may be sent to U.S. Bank - Government
Lockbox #979088, SL-MO-C2-GL, 1005 Convention Plaza, St. Louis, MO
63101. Payment by wire transfer may be made to ABA Number 021030004,
receiving bank TREAS/NYC, and account number 27000001. For payment by
credit card, an FCC Form 159 (Remittance Advice) must be submitted.
When completing the FCC Form 159, enter the NAL/Account number in
block number 23A (call sign/other ID), and enter the letters "FORF" in
block number 24A (payment type code). Requests for full payment under
an installment plan should be sent to: Chief Financial Officer --
Financial Operations, 445 12th Street, S.W., Room 1-A625, Washington,
D.C. 20554. Please contact the Financial Operations Group Help Desk
at 1-877-480-3201 or Email: ARINQUIRIES@fcc.gov with any questions
regarding payment procedures. Rama also will send electronic
notification on the date said payment is made to SCR-Response@fcc.gov.
11. The response, if any, must be mailed to Federal Communications
Commission, Enforcement Bureau, South Central Region, Tampa Office,
2203 N. Lois Avenue, Suite 1215, Tampa, Florida, 33607 and must
include the NAL/Acct. No. referenced in the caption.
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 submitted.
13. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a copy of this Notice of Apparent Liability
for Forfeiture shall be sent by Certified Mail, Return Receipt
Requested, and regular mail, to Rama Communications, Inc. at its
address of record.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Ralph M. Barlow
South Central Region
47 C.F.R. S:S: 11.35(a), 73.3526.
47 U.S.C. S: 503(b).
Section 312(f)(1) of the Act, 47 U.S.C. S: 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).
Section 312(f)(2) of the Act, 47 U.S.C. S: 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 one day."
47 C.F.R. S: 11.35(a).
47 C.F.R. S: 73.3526(a)(2).
47 C.F.R. S: 73.3526(c)(1).
47 C.F.R. S: 73.3526(e)(12).
12 FCC Rcd 17087 (1997), recon. denied, 15 FCC Rcd 303 (1999); 47 C.F.R.
Rama Communications, Inc., Notice of Violation V20053270002 (rel. Nov. 1,
2004); Notice of Violation V20063270002 (rel. May 16, 2006); Notice of
Apparent Liability for Forfeiture NAL/Acct. No. 200432700011 (Enf. Bur.,
Tampa Office, March 5, 2004) ("NAL 1"); and Notice of Apparent Liability
for Forfeiture NAL/Acct. No. 200732700013 (Enf. Bur. Tampa Office, June 6,
2007) ("NAL 2"). See also Memorandum Opinion and Order, 22 FCC Rcd 1104
(Enf. Bur. 2007) (denying Rama's petition for reconsideration of NAL 1);
Forfeiture Order, 22 FCC Rcd 13796 (Enf. Bur. South Central Region, 2007)
(no response Forfeiture Order for NAL 2).
47 U.S.C. S: 503(b)(2)(E).
47 U.S.C. S: 503(b), 47 C.F.R. S:S: 0.111, 0.311, 0.314, 1.80, 11.35(a),
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Federal Communications Commission
Federal Communications Commission