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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of )
) File No. EB-02-NF-051
Madison Broadcasting Group, Inc.)
Danboro, Pennsylvania ) NAL/Acct. No. 20023264002
) FRN 0006-1449-50
Adopted: August 14, 2002 Released: August 19,
By the Chief, Enforcement Bureau:
1. In this Forfeiture Order (``Order''), we issue a
monetary forfeiture in the amount of twelve thousand dollars
($12,000), to Madison Broadcasting Group, Inc. (``Madison''),
owner of five antenna structures in Lynchburg, Virginia (antenna
structure registration numbers 1065920, 1065921, 1065922,
1065923, and 1065924) for willful violation of Sections 17.4(g)
and 17.50 of the Commission's Rules (``Rules'').1 The noted
violations involve Madison's failure to post its antenna
structure registration (``ASR'') numbers and its failure to
maintain specified painting on its five antenna structures in
2. On April 29, 2002, the Commission's Norfolk, Virginia
Resident Agent's Office (``Norfolk Office'') issued a Notice of
Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (``NAL'')2 in the amount of
twelve thousand dollars ($12,000) to Madison. Madison filed an
initial response on May 15, 2002. Madison filed a supplemental
response on May 17, 2002.
3. On February 28, 2002, a Commission agent from the
Norfolk Office inspected Madison's five antenna
structures, which were used as an antenna array for
station WLVA(AM), a Lynchburg, Virginia station
licensed to Madison. The agent observed that none of
the five antenna structures had the ASR numbers posted
on or near the base of the structures. The agent also
observed that the requisite painting on each antenna
structure was faded and chipped such that it failed to
provide good visibility. On April 29, 2002, the
Norfolk Office issued a NAL for $12,000 to Madison for
violating Sections 17.4(g) and 17.50 of the Rules.3 In
its first response filed on May 15, 2002, Madison
claims, through its accountant, that the violations
were not willful and that it is unable to pay the
forfeiture. In its supplemental response, filed on May
17, 2002, Madison's president claims that he was
unaware that the towers required painting and that the
ASR numbers were not posted. Thus, Madison asserts
that any such violations could not have been willful.
Further, Madison states that WLVA(AM) is silent, with
Commission authorization; that an application has been
filed to assign the license for WLVA(AM);4 and that the
towers at issue have been dismantled, correcting the
violation. In neither response does Madison dispute
4. The forfeiture amount in this case was assessed in
accordance with Section 503(b) of the Communications Act of 1934,
as amended (``Act''),5 Section 1.80 of the Rules,6 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). In
examining Madison'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
5. Section 17.4(g) of the Rules requires that ASR
numbers be displayed in a conspicuous place so that they are
readily visible near the base of the antenna structure. Section
17.50 of the Rules provides that antenna structures requiring
painting under the Rules shall be cleaned or repainted as often
as necessary to maintain good visibility. Madison does not deny
that the violations alleged in the NAL occurred. Therefore,
based on the evidence before us, we find that Madison failed to
post ASR numbers on the five antenna structures in willful
violation of Section 17.4(g) of the Rules and failed to clean
and/or paint the five antenna structures as often as necessary to
maintain good visibility in willful violation of Section 17.50 of
6. Madison's president claims that no one ever told
him that the towers required painting or that the ASR numbers
were not posted. Further, Madison's president asserts that since
he is the only officer and director of the corporation and since
he had no knowledge of the alleged violations, such violations
could not have been 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 ....''8 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). Section 17.4(g) requires tower owners to
take affirmative steps to post ASR numbers so that they are
readily visible near the base of antenna structures and Section
17.50 requires owners to take steps to ensure that antenna
structures are cleaned and repainted as often as necessary to
maintain good visibility. A tower owner which fails to take such
steps is in willful violation of these rules. While Madison's
president claims that no one ever told him that the towers
required painting or that the ASR numbers were not posted,
Section 17.6(a) of the Rules9 explicitly states that the antenna
structure owner is responsible for maintaining the painting and
lighting required by the rules. Moreover, licensees are expected
to know and comply with the Commission's rules.10 Thus, Madison,
as the antenna structure owner and the licensee of WLVA(AM), was
responsible for insuring that the tower was properly painted and
lighted and its violations were willful under Section 503(b) of
the Act. Madison also asserts that because the five antenna
structures at issue here have been dismantled,11 the violations
have been corrected. We note that remedial actions taken to
correct the violations, while commendable, are not mitigating
7. Madison also claims, through its accountant, that
it has no means from which to pay the proposed forfeiture amount
of $12,000. In support of this contention, Madison submitted
only the accountant's statement explaining Madison's financial
situation and concluding that Madison has no means of making
payment. The accountant's statement does not include any
information regarding Madison's income. As the NAL stated, the
Commission will not consider reducing or canceling a forfeiture
in response to a claim of inability to pay unless the petitioner
submits documentation that accurately reflects the petitioner's
current financial status. Madison has not presented sufficient
documentation to enable us to evaluate its current financial
condition; therefore, we can not accept its claim that it is
financially unable to pay the forfeiture.13
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES
8. 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,14 Madison Broadcasting Group, Inc. IS LIABLE FOR A
MONETARY FORFEITURE in the amount of twelve thousand dollars
($12,000) for willfully violating Sections 17.4(g) and 17.50 of
9. 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.15
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
NAL/Acct. No. 20023264002, and FRN 0006-1449-50. 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. 20554.16
10. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, a copy of this Order shall
be sent by Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested to Madison
Broadcasting Group, Inc. at P.O. Box 50, Danboro, Pennsylvania
18947, and its counsel Lauren A. Colby, Esq., P.O. Box 113,
Frederick, Maryland 21705-0113.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
David H. Solomon
Chief, Enforcement Bureau
1 47 C.F.R. §§ 17.4(g) and 17.50.
2 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, NAL/Acct. No.
20023264002 (Enf. Bur., Norfolk Office, released April 29, 2002).
3 The NAL found violations of Sections 17.4(g) and 17.50 at
each of Madison's five antenna structures. Nevertheless, because
the structures were part of a five-tower array, the NAL proposed
only a $10,000 forfeiture (the base forfeiture amount for a
single tower painting violation) for the five painting violations
and a $2,000 forfeiture (the base forfeiture amount for a single
posting violation) for the five posting violations.
4 The assignment of license for Station WLVA(AM) from Madison
Broadcasting Group, Inc. to Kovas Communications was granted on
May 17, 2002 and consummated on June 7, 2002.
5 47 U.S.C. § 503(b).
6 47 C.F.R. § 1.80.
7 47 U.S.C. § 503(b)(2)(D).
8 47 U.S.C. § 312(f)(1).
9 47 C.F.R. § 17.6(a).
10 See Econopage of Cleveland, Inc., 16 FCC Rcd 2989, 2990
(Enf. Bur. 2001).
11 Although Madison states that the towers have been
dismantled, Commission records show that the towers have not been
12 See, e.g., Puerto Rico Tower Co., Inc., 16 FCC Rcd 271, 273
(Enf. Bur. 2001).
13 See, e.g., KASA Radio Hogar, Inc., 16 FCC Rcd 11934, 11935
(Enf. Bur. 2001), recon. denied, 16 FCC Rcd 16160 (Enf. Bur.
2001), application for review denied, 17 FCC Rcd 6256 (2002).
14 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.111, 0.311, 1.80(f)(4).
15 47 U.S.C. § 504(a).
16 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.1914.