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                           Before the
                Federal Communications Commission
                     Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of                )
                                )
Hancock Broadcasting Corporation)    File No. EB-01-OR-012
WBSL(AM)                       )     NAL/Acct. No. 200132620003  
Bay St. Louis, Mississippi      )
                                   

                        FORFEITURE ORDER 

Adopted:  August 13, 2001               Released:    August   15, 
2001

By the Chief, Enforcement Bureau:

                        I.  INTRODUCTION

1.        In  this  Forfeiture  Order  (``Order''),  we  issue  a 
  monetary forfeiture  in the  amount of  three thousand  dollars 
  ($3,000)  to Hancock  Broadcasting  Corporation  (``Hancock''), 
  licensee of Station  WBSL(AM), Bay St. Louis, Mississippi,  for 
  willful  violations  of Sections  11.35(a)  and  73.49  of  the 
  Commission's Rules (``Rules'').1  The noted violations  involve 
  Hancock's   failure  to   install  and   maintain   operational 
  Emergency Alert System (``EAS'') equipment at WBSL(AM) and  its 
  failure  to   enclose  WBSL(AM)'s  antenna   tower  within   an 
  effective locked fence or other enclosure.

2.        On  April  4,  2001,  the  Commission's  New   Orleans, 
  Louisiana,  Field  Office (``New  Orleans  Office'')  issued  a 
  Notice  of  Apparent  Liability  for  Forfeiture  (``NAL'')  to 
  Hancock  for a  forfeiture in  the amount  of fifteen  thousand 
  dollars ($15,000).2   Hancock filed  a response to  the NAL  on 
  May 7, 2001.

                         II.  BACKGROUND

3.        On January  24, 2001,  an agent  from the  New  Orleans 
  Office inspected  WBSL(AM).  During the  inspection, the  agent 
  observed that the station's EAS equipment was not connected  to 
  a power  source and was not  programmed to monitor and  receive 
  EAS tests or  messages.  In addition, the agent observed  that, 
  although there was a lock on the gate to the fence  surrounding 
  WBSL(AM)'s antenna tower, the gate was unlocked and open.   The 
  agent further  observed that  the station  was not  maintaining 
  logs of EAS tests  and activations, there was no EAS  Operating 
  Handbook at the station,  and the station did not have a  chief 
  operator  designated in  writing and  posted with  the  station 
  authorization.

4.        On January 29,  2001, the New  Orleans Office issued  a 
  Notice of Violation (``NOV'') citing Hancock for violations  of 
  Sections 11.35(a)  (failure to  install EAS  equipment so  that 
  monitoring  and transmitting  functions are  available),  73.49 
  (failure to  enclose the AM antenna  tower within an  effective 
  locked fence  or other enclosure), 73.1820(a)(1)(iii)  (failure 
  to maintain  logs of EAS tests),  11.15 (failure to maintain  a 
  copy of the EAS Operating Handbook at normal duty positions  or 
  EAS equipment locations), and 73.1870(a) (failure to  designate 
  a  chief  operator in  writing  with  a copy  posted  with  the 
  station  authorization).    On  February   20,  2001,   Hancock 
  submitted a response to the NOV in which it indicated that  the 
  violations had been corrected.

5.        On April 4,  2001, the  New Orleans  Office issued  the 
  subject NAL to Hancock for failure to install EAS equipment  so 
  that  monitoring and  transmitting functions  are available  in 
  willful violation of Section 11.35(a) of the Rules and  failure 
  to  enclose the  AM antenna  tower within  an effective  locked 
  fence or other enclosure in willful violation of Section  73.49 
  of  the Rules,  each of  which is  a safety-related  violation.  
  The other violations cited in the NOV were not included in  the 
  NAL.   On  May  7,  2001,  the  Commission  received  Hancock's 
  response to  the NAL,  which seeks rescission  or reduction  of 
  the  forfeiture.  In  its  response, Hancock  argues  that  the 
  violations  were not  willful.  Hancock  concedes that  at  the 
  time of the inspection, the EAS equipment was not  functioning.  
  However, Hancock  states that the  EAS equipment was  installed 
  and  in  place,   but  during  the  installation  of  the   new 
  transmitter and  other broadcast equipment,  the EAS  equipment 
  was  not  hooked up  properly.   Hancock  further  states  that 
  purchasing the EAS equipment and having it in place shows  that 
  the violation  was not willful.   In addition, Hancock  asserts 
  that  there  was in  fact  a lock  on  the gate  to  the  fence 
  surrounding the  antenna tower,  but with some  force a  person 
  could  move  the  gate  and  enter  the  site.   Hancock   also 
  indicates that both  violations have been corrected.   Finally, 
  Hancock seeks reduction of the forfeiture amount, arguing  that 
  payment of the forfeiture would result in a financial  hardship 
  for the station.

                      III.      DISCUSSION

6.        The forfeiture  amount in  this  case was  assessed  in 
  accordance with Section 503 of the Communications Act of  1934, 
  as  amended (``Act''),3  Section 1.80  of the  Rules,4 and  The 
  Commission's  Forfeiture  Policy  Statement  and  Amendment  of 
  Section  1.80  of  the  Rules  to  Incorporate  the  Forfeiture 
  Guidelines, 12 FCC Rcd 17087 (1997), recon. denied, 15 FCC  Rcd 
  303  (1999)  (``Policy Statement'').   In  examining  Hancock's 
  response,  Section  503(b)   of  the  Act  requires  that   the 
  Commission 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.5

7.        Section 11.35(a) of the  Rules requires that  broadcast 
  stations  install  EAS encoders,  EAS  decoders  and  attention 
  signal  generating   and  receiving  equipment   so  that   the 
  monitoring and transmitting functions are available during  the 
  times  the stations  are in  operation.  Section  73.49 of  the 
  Rules provides  that AM antenna  towers having radio  frequency 
  potential at the base must be enclosed within effective  locked 
  fences or other enclosures.  Hancock concedes that it  violated 
  Sections 11.35(a)  and 73.49,  but argues  that the  violations 
  were not willful.   We disagree.  Section 312(f)(1) of the  Act 
  provides that  ``the term `willful,'  when used with  reference 
  to the commission or  omission of any act, means the  conscious 
  or 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  ....''6   This  definition 
  applies to  the term ``willful'' as  used in Section 503(b)  of 
  the Act.  See  Southern California Broadcasting Co., 6 FCC  Rcd 
  4387 (1991).  Hancock states that during installation of a  new 
  transmitter and  other broadcast equipment,  the EAS  equipment 
  ``was not  hooked up properly.''  However,  at the time of  the 
  inspection, the  EAS equipment  was not  programmed to  monitor 
  and receive  EAS tests or messages  and was not even  connected 
  to  a power  source.  Thus,  it was  not a  matter of  the  EAS 
  equipment not being  hooked up properly; rather, the  equipment 
  was not  hooked up at  all.  In addition,  we reject  Hancock's 
  assertion that purchasing the equipment and having it in  place 
  shows that  the violation  was not  willful.  Section  11.35(a) 
  requires that the equipment be installed.  With respect to  the 
  Section  73.49 violation,  Hancock asserts  that there  was  in 
  fact a  lock on the gate to  the fence surrounding the  antenna 
  tower, but  with some force  a person could  move the gate  and 
  enter the  site.  However, at the  time of the inspection,  the 
  gate  was unlocked and  open and  it was not  necessary to  use 
  ``some force''  to push  open the gate.   Accordingly, we  find 
  that Hancock willfully violated Sections 11.35(a) and 73.49  of 
  the Rules.7  Further,  we note that Hancock's remedial  actions 
  to  correct  the  violations,  while  commendable,  are  not  a 
  mitigating factor.  See Station KGVL, Inc., 42 FCC 2d 258,  259 
  (1973).

8.        Hancock  also  argues  that  payment  of  the   $15,000 
  forfeiture  would  result  in  a  financial  hardship  for  the 
  station and  provides tax returns  for 1998, 1999  and 2000  in 
  support  of  this argument.   Although  other  factors  can  be 
  considered, the  Commission has  held that  a licensee's  gross 
  income is generally the best indicator of its ability to pay  a 
  forfeiture.  See  PJB Communications of  Virginia, Inc., 7  FCC 
  Rcd 2088  (1992).  In view of  the gross revenues indicated  by 
  Hancock's tax  returns, we conclude that  it is appropriate  to 
  reduce the forfeiture amount from $15,000 to $3,000.  

9.        We have examined Hancock's response to the NAL pursuant 
  to the  statutory factors  above, and in  conjunction with  the 
  Policy  Statement as  well.   As a  result  of our  review,  we 
  conclude that Hancock willfully violated Sections 11.35(a)  and 
  73.49 of  the Rules, but we  reduce the forfeiture amount  from 
  $15,000 to $3,000.

                      IV.  ORDERING CLAUSES

10.       Accordingly, IT IS  ORDERED that,  pursuant to  Section 
  503(b) of  the Act,8 and Sections  0.111, 0.311 and  1.80(f)(4) 
  of the Rules,9  Hancock Broadcasting Corporation IS LIABLE  FOR 
  A MONETARY FORFEITURE  in the amount of three thousand  dollars 
  ($3,000)  for failure  to  install  its EAS  equipment  so  the 
  monitoring and transmitting functions are available in  willful 
  violation  of Section  11.35(a) of  the  Rules and  failure  to 
  enclose its AM  antenna tower within an effective locked  fence 
  in willful violation of Section 73.49 of the Rules.

11.       Payment of the forfeiture shall  be made in the  manner 
  provided for in Section  1.80 of the Rules10 within 30 days  of 
  the  release of  this Order.   If the  forfeiture is  not  paid 
  within the  period specified, the case  may be referred to  the 
  Department  of  Justice  for  collection  pursuant  to  Section 
  504(a) of the Act.11  Payment shall be made by mailing a  check 
  or  similar instrument,  payable to  the order  of the  Federal 
  Communications  Commission,   to  the  Federal   Communications 
  Commission, P.O. Box 73482, Chicago, Illinois 60673-7482.   The 
  payment  should  note  the  NAL/Acct.  No.  referenced   above.  
  Requests for full  payment under an installment plan should  be 
  sent to: Chief,  Revenue and Receivables Operations Group,  445 
  12th Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20554.12

12.       IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that  a copy of this Order  shall 
  be sent by  Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested to  Hancock 
  Broadcasting Corporation,  WBSL(AM), 1190  Casino Magic  Drive, 
  Bay St. Louis, Mississippi 39520.

                         FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
                         


                         David H. Solomon
                         Chief, Enforcement Bureau
_________________________

  1 47 C.F.R.  11.35(a) and 73.49.

  2 Notice  of Apparent Liability  for Forfeiture, NAL/Acct.  No. 
200132620003 (Enf. Bur.,  New Orleans Office,  released April  4, 
2001).    

  3 47 U.S.C.  503(b).

  4 47 C.F.R.  1.80.

  5 47 U.S.C.  503(b)(2)(D).

  6 47 U.S.C.  312(f)(1).

  7 Hancock's assertion  that the violations were not willful  is 
also unpersuasive given  that Hancock has  previously been  cited 
for essentially the  same violations.  On  January 29, 1992,  the 
New Orleans  Office  issued an  NOV  to Hancock  for  failure  to 
enclose its AM  antenna tower within  an effective locked  fence, 
failure to  install  its  Emergency  Broadcast  System  (``EBS'') 
equipment so that  it was  capable of  functioning properly,  and 
failure to maintain logs of EBS tests.

  8 47 U.S.C.  503(b).

  9 47 C.F.R.  0.111, 0.311, 1.80(f)(4).

  10 47 C.F.R.  1.80.

  11 47 U.S.C.  504(a).

  12 See 47 C.F.R.  1.1914.