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

In the Matter of                )
                                )
MAPA Broadcasting, L.L.C.       )    File No. EB-01-OR-138
WSLA(AM)                       )     NAL/Acct. No. 200132620005  
Slidell, Louisiana              )    FRN 0005-0234-60
                                   

                        FORFEITURE ORDER 

Adopted:  December 17, 2001             Released:   December  19, 
2001

By the Chief, Enforcement Bureau:

                        I.  INTRODUCTION

1.        In  this  Forfeiture  Order  (``Order''),  we  issue  a 
  monetary forfeiture in the amount of two thousand five  hundred 
  dollars  ($2,500)  to  MAPA  Broadcasting,  L.L.C.  (``MAPA''), 
  licensee of Station  WSLA(AM), Slidell, Louisiana, for  willful 
  violations of Sections  11.35(a) and 73.49 of the  Commission's 
  Rules  (``Rules'').1   The  noted  violations  involve   MAPA's 
  failure   to  install   operational  Emergency   Alert   System 
  (``EAS'')  equipment at  WSLA(AM) and  its failure  to  enclose 
  WSLA(AM)'s antenna  tower within an  effective locked fence  or 
  other enclosure.

2.        On  July  24,  2001,  the  Commission's  New   Orleans, 
  Louisiana,  Field  Office (``New  Orleans  Office'')  issued  a 
  Notice of Apparent  Liability for Forfeiture (``NAL'') to  MAPA 
  for  a forfeiture  in the  amount of  fifteen thousand  dollars 
  ($15,000).2  MAPA filed a response to the NAL on September  10, 
  2001.

                         II.  BACKGROUND

3.        On March 14, 2001, agents  from the New Orleans  Office 
  inspected  WSLA(AM).    During  the   inspection,  the   agents 
  determined that no  EAS equipment was installed.  In  addition, 
  the  agents observed  that the  gate to  the fence  surrounding 
  WSLA(AM)'s  antenna tower  was  unlocked.  The  agents  further 
  observed that, although  WSLA(AM)'s antenna tower was  grounded 
  at the base,  the antenna included a ``skirt'' surrounding  the 
  tower.  The  ``skirt'' had  radio frequency  potential and  was 
  within reach from the ground near the base of the tower. 

4.        On April  26, 2001,  the New  Orleans Office  issued  a 
  Notice of  Violation (``NOV'')  citing MAPA  for violations  of 
  Sections 11.35(a) and 73.49.  On May 14 and May 21, 2001,  MAPA 
  submitted responses to the NOV stating that it had ordered  EAS 
  equipment and locked the tower gate.

5.        On July 24,  2001, the  New Orleans  Office issued  the 
  subject  NAL to  MAPA for  failure to  install operational  EAS 
  equipment  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.  

6.        On September 10, 2001,  the Commission received  MAPA's 
  response to  the NAL.   In its  response, MAPA  argues that  if 
  there were any violations, they were not willful.  MAPA  states 
  that  at the  time of  the inspection,  the gate  to the  fence 
  surrounding the tower was left ``temporarily unlocked'' by  the 
  yard maintenance person,  despite being cautioned not to  leave 
  the gate  open.  MAPA  also argues  that the  tower is  located 
  behind  its  building,   and  that  ``no  improved  areas   are 
  adjacent, just forest/swamp.''  MAPA admits that with the  gate 
  open, an adult could  enter the enclosure, touch the lead  wire 
  to the  antenna harness  and receive  a skin  burn.  MAPA  adds 
  that  this has  never happened  at the  station.  In  addition, 
  MAPA indicates that at the time of the inspection, the  station 
  had a  ``modified EBS  unit with  an AM  tuner'' which  allowed 
  reception   of   EAS  transmissions,   but   not   transmitting 
  functions.  MAPA states  that all EAS advisories are posted  in 
  the  control room  and the  station logs  include EBS  logging.  
  MAPA  asserts that  in  1998, an  agent  from the  New  Orleans 
  Office conducted an  ``EAS Equipment Inspection'' at  WSLA(AM), 
  and  that  it  never  received  communication  concerning   its 
  equipment.  Thus,  MAPA assumed its  equipment was  acceptable.  
  Further, MAPA claims  that upon receiving the NOV, it  obtained 
  a cost estimate for an EAS unit.  MAPA claims that the  company 
  that provided it with  a cost estimate also stated that  future 
  EAS developments  may result in  new equipment being  required, 
  and in  light of MAPA's financial  condition, it chose to  seek 
  guidance from the  Commission.  MAPA states that after  reading 
  various  trade  publications,  it  is  in  a  ``state  of  some 
  confusion''  as  to the  development  of  EAS.   Finally,  MAPA 
  appears  to seek  reduction of  the forfeiture  amount, on  the 
  basis that  that payment of  the forfeiture would  result in  a 
  financial hardship for the station.

                      III.      DISCUSSION

7.        The forfeiture  amount in  this  case was  assessed  in 
  accordance with  Section 503(b)  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   MAPA'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

8.        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.  MAPA argues that the  violations, 
  if any, 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).   We  therefore  conclude  that  the 
  violations  were willful.   MAPA states  that the  gate to  the 
  fence was ``temporarily  unlocked'' and that no improved  areas 
  are adjacent  to the tower.  Neither  of these statements  have 
  any  bearing  on the  fact  that  the gate  to  the  fence  was 
  unlocked  at  the  time  of  the  inspection.   Section   73.49 
  requires the fence to be locked.

9.        Moreover, MAPA's use of a  ``modified EBS unit with  an 
  AM tuner'' does not comply with Section 11.35(a) of the  Rules, 
  which requires stations  to install EAS encoders, EAS  decoders 
  and attention signal generating and receiving equipment.   With 
  respect  to  MAPA's  claim  that  it  was  unclear  as  to  the 
  Commission's  EAS  requirements,   this  does  not  warrant   a 
  reduction of the  forfeiture amount.  Commission licensees  are 
  responsible for knowing and adhering to the statutes and  rules 
  that apply  to them.  Lack of  knowledge of those statutes  and 
  rules   is  not   sufficient  justification   for  reducing   a 
  forfeiture imposed for  violating them. See Sitka  Broadcasting 
  Company Inc., 70 FCC 2d 2375, 2378 (1979).

10.       MAPA 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 
  MAPA's  tax returns,  we conclude  that  it is  appropriate  to 
  reduce the forfeiture amount from $15,000 to $2,500.  

11.       We have examined MAPA'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 MAPA  willfully violated  Sections 11.35(a)  and 
  73.49 of  the Rules, but we  reduce the forfeiture amount  from 
  $15,000 to $2,500.

                      IV.  ORDERING CLAUSES

12.       Accordingly, IT IS  ORDERED that,  pursuant to  Section 
  503(b) of the Act, and Sections 0.111, 0.311 and 1.80(f)(4)  of 
  the Rules,7 MAPA Broadcasting, L.L.C. IS LIABLE FOR A  MONETARY 
  FORFEITURE in the  amount of two thousand five hundred  dollars 
  ($2,500)  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.

13.       Payment of the forfeiture shall  be made in the  manner 
  provided for  in Section 1.80  of the Rules  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.8   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.  200132620005, and  the 
  FRN  0005-0234-60.    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. 20554.9

14.       IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that  a copy of this Order  shall 
  be  sent by  Certified Mail  Return Receipt  Requested to  MAPA 
  Broadcasting  L.L.C.,  WSLA(AM), P.O.  Box  1175,  38230  Coast 
  Blvd., Slidell, Louisiana, 70459.

                         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. 
200132620005 (Enf. Bur.,  New Orleans Office,  released July  24, 
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 47 C.F.R.  0.111, 0.311, 1.80(f)(4).

  8 47 U.S.C.  504(a).

  9 See 47 C.F.R.  1.1914.