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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of )
Radford Communications, Inc. ) File No. EB-00-NF-310
Station WKRK(AM) ) NAL/Acct. No. 200132640002
Murphy, North Carolina )
Adopted: February 27, 2001 Released: March 1, 2001
By the Chief, Enforcement Bureau:
1. In this Forfeiture Order (``Order''), we issue a
monetary forfeiture in the amount of three thousand dollars
($3,000) to Radford Communications, Inc. (``Radford''),
licensee of Station WKRK(AM), Murphy, North Carolina, for
willful violation of Section 17.4(a) of the Commission's Rules
(``Rules'').1 The noted violation involves Radford's failure
to register its antenna structure.
2. On October 19, 2000, the Commission's Norfolk,
Virginia, Resident Agent Office (``Norfolk Office'') issued a
Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (``NAL'') to
Radford for a forfeiture in the amount of three thousand
dollars ($3,000).2 Radford filed a response to the NAL on
November 15, 2000.
3. On July 1, 2000, an agent from the Norfolk Office
inspected Station WKRK(AM) to determine whether the station
was in compliance with the Commission's Emergency Alert System
and antenna structure registration rules. Station WKRK(AM)'s
antenna structure is required to be registered because it is
more than 200 feet in height above ground level.3 At the time
of the inspection, Timothy Radford, the president of Radford,
admitted that the antenna structure was not registered.
4. On August 11, 2000, the Norfolk Office issued a Notice
of Violation (``NOV'') to Radford for failure to register the
antenna structure. In its response to the NOV, Radford
conceded that the antenna structure was not registered.
Radford stated that it had hired a contract engineer in
December 1996 to measure and register the tower, but that the
engineer never completed the work, despite numerous follow-up
calls and a letter from Radford requesting that the work be
completed. Although Radford acknowledged that it was
responsible for ensuring that the tower was registered, it
argued that its actions demonstrate that it made efforts to
get the work done and did not simply ignore the Commission's
rules. Radford also stated that, following the FCC
inspection, it hired another contractor to measure the tower
and began completing the necessary tower registration forms
5. On October 19, 2000, the Norfolk Office issued the
subject NAL to Radford for failure to register its antenna
structure in willful violation of Section 17.4(a) of the
Rules. On November 20, 2000, the Commission received
Radford's response to the NAL, which seeks rescission or
reduction of the forfeiture. Radford requests that we take
into consideration its efforts to comply with the Commission's
rules. Radford states that it hired a contract engineer to
gather the information needed to register the tower, but for
some unexplained reason the engineer did not follow through
and complete the work. Radford further states that it has
hired another engineer to complete the job and is currently
awaiting the results of an aeronautical study of the tower by
the Federal Aviation Administration so that it can provide the
necessary information on the tower registration form. Radford
also requests that we take into account its financial status
and provides tax returns for 1997, 1998 and 1999.
6. As the NAL explicitly states, the forfeiture amount in
this case was assessed in accordance with Section 503 of the
Communications Act of 1934, as amended (``Act''),4 Section
1.80 of the Rules,5 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 Radford'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.6
7. Section 17.4(a) of the Rules provides that effective
July 1, 1996, owners of any existing antenna structures that
require notification to the Federal Aviation Administration
must register the structure with the Commission. Antenna
structure owners were required to register existing antenna
structures by state during prescribed filing windows between
July 1, 1996, and June 30, 1998.7 Following the expiration of
the filing period, the Commission staff issued a Public Notice
warning antenna structure owners to register any unregistered
antenna structures subject to our requirements immediately or
face possible monetary forfeitures or other enforcement
action.8 We find that Radford willfully violated Section
17.4(a) by failing to register its antenna structure.9
8. Radford requests that we consider its efforts to comply
with the antenna structure registration requirement as a
mitigating factor. We do not believe that Radford's efforts
warrant mitigation of the forfeiture amount. The Commission
has long held that licensees are responsible for the acts or
omissions of their employees and independent contractors. See
MTD, Inc., 6 FCC Rcd 34, 35 (1991); Wagenvoord Broadcasting
Co., 35 FCC 2d 361 (1972). Furthermore, Radford's remedial
efforts to correct the violation are not a mitigating factor.
See Station KGVL, Inc., 42 FCC 2d 258, 259 (1973).
9. Radford also requests that we take into account its
financial status. 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). Radford's tax returns indicate that it had
gross revenues of $211,057 in 1997; $236,164 in 1998; and
$257,398 in 1999. The proposed forfeiture amount of $3,000 is
not excessive in the context of these revenues.
10. We have examined Radford'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 Radford has failed to provide sufficient
justification for canceling or mitigating the proposed
forfeiture amount. Therefore, we affirm the forfeiture of
three thousand dollars ($3,000).
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES
11. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to Section
503(b) of the Act,10 and Sections 0.111, 0.311 and 1.80(f)(4)
of the Rules,11 Radford Communications, Inc., IS LIABLE FOR A
MONETARY FORFEITURE in the amount of three thousand dollars
($3,000) for failure to register its antenna structure in
willful violation of Section 17.4(a) of the Rules.
12. Payment of the forfeiture shall be made in the manner
provided for in Section 1.80 of the Rules12 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.13 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. 20554.14
13. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a copy of this Order shall
be sent by Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested to Radford
Communications, Inc., 1707 Andrews Road, Murphy, North
Carolina 28906, and its counsel, W. David Sumpter, III, Esq.,
39 Hiawassee Street, Murphy, North Carolina 28906.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
David H. Solomon
Chief, Enforcement Bureau
1 47 C.F.R. § 17.4(a).
2 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, NAL/Acct. No.
200132640002 (Enf. Bur., Norfolk Office, released October 19,
3 See 47 C.F.R. § 17.7(a).
4 47 U.S.C. § 503(b).
5 47 C.F.R. § 1.80.
6 47 U.S.C. § 503(b)(2)(D).
7 Streamlining the Commission's Antenna Structure Clearance
Procedure and Revision of Part 17 of the Commission's Rules
Concerning Construction, Marking and Lighting of Antenna
Structures, 11 FCC Rcd 4272, 4281 (1995). Under the filing
window schedule established by the Commission, existing antenna
structures located in North Carolina were required to be
registered during a August 1-31, 1996 filing window. Id. at
8 Public Notice, ``No-Tolerance Policy Adopted for
Unregistered Antenna Structures'' (WTB, January 13, 1999).
9 The term ``willfully'' as employed in Section 503 of the Act
does not require that the violation in question be intentional.
It is necessary only that the licensee knew that it was doing the
act in question. See Southern California Broadcasting Co., 6 FCC
Rcd 4387 (1991).
10 47 U.S.C. § 503(b).
11 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.111, 0.311, 1.80(f)(4).
12 47 C.F.R. § 1.80.
13 47 U.S.C. § 504(a).
14 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.1914.