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

In the Matter of                )
                                )
Morris  Communications, Inc.    )    File No. EB-02-AT-217
                                )    
Owner of Unregistered Antenna Structure in   )    NAL/Acct.   No. 
200232480011
Adrian, South Carolina          )
                                )    FRN 0001-8848-57
                                )    

                        FORFEITURE ORDER 

Adopted:  April 29, 2003                Released:  May 1, 2003

By the Chief, Enforcement Bureau:

                        I.  INTRODUCTION

1.        In  this  Forfeiture  Order  (``Order''),  we  issue  a 
  monetary forfeiture in the amount of two thousand four  hundred 
  dollars ($2,400)  to Morris Communications, Inc.  (``Morris''), 
  owner of the  antenna structure located at coordinates 33  58' 
  12'' North latitude and 79 02' 03'' West longitude in  Adrian, 
  South Carolina,  for willful  violation of  Section 17.4(a)  of 
  the  Commission's  Rules  (``Rules'').1   The  noted  violation 
  involves Morris's failure to register its antenna structure.  

2.        On July  8,  2002, the  Commission's  Atlanta,  Georgia 
  Field Office (``Atlanta  Office'') issued a Notice of  Apparent 
  Liability for Forfeiture  (``NAL'') to Morris for a  forfeiture 
  in  the amount  of three  thousand dollars  ($3,000).2   Morris 
  filed  a  response  to   the  NAL  on  August  7,  2002,3   and 
  supplemented its response on August 13, 2002.

                         II.  BACKGROUND

3.          On  May 7,  2002, an  agent from  the Atlanta  Office 
  inspected the tower  located at coordinates 33 58' 12''  North 
  latitude  and 79  02' 03''  West  longitude in  Adrian,  South 
  Carolina.  Although the tower was over 200 feet in height,  and 
  therefore was required  to be registered with the  Commission,4 
  the  agent  observed  that  there  was  no  antenna   structure 
  registration (``ASR'')  number posted  on or near  the base  of 
  the  tower.   A  subsequent  search  of  the  Commission's  ASR 
  database indicated that the tower was not registered.

4.        On May 22,  2002, the  agent spoke  with Trace  Morris, 
  president of  Morris, and verified  that the antenna  structure 
  was  owned   by  Morris  and  was   not  registered  with   the 
  Commission.   Mr.  Morris stated  that  Morris  had  previously 
  attempted to  register the tower, but  that the Commission  had 
  returned its application.

5.        On May 29, 2002, Morris sent the Atlanta Office a  copy 
  of  a tower  registration application  (FCC Form  854) for  the 
  Adrian tower  that was  filed twice in  1999.  The  application 
  was  date stamped  ``received''  by the  Commission's  Wireless 
  Telecommunications Bureau  on January  29, 1999,  and again  on 
  August 9, 1999.   The Commission returned the January 29,  1999 
  application to  Morris with  a cover letter  dated February  8, 
  1999, which indicated  that the application was being  returned 
  because  Item   28  on  the   application,  the   environmental 
  assessment   question,  was   incomplete.   Morris   apparently 
  resubmitted  the same  application form  to the  Commission  on 
  August 9, 1999, as evidenced by the second date stamp.   Morris 
  stated that  the Commission returned  its second submission  of 
  the  application  without  explanation.   Morris  filed  a  new 
  application to register the tower on May 29, 2002.5  

6.        On July 8, 2002,  the Atlanta Office  issued an NAL  to 
  Morris  for a  $3,000 forfeiture  for failing  to register  its 
  antenna structure  in willful violation  of Section 17.4(a)  of 
  the Rules.  In its response to the NAL, Morris admits that  its 
  tower  was  not registered,  but  argues  that  the  forfeiture 
  should be  rescinded because it  did not ``willfully''  violate 
  the  rules.   Morris  asserts  that  it  made  two  good  faith 
  attempts to register the structure in 1999, but the  Commission 
  first rejected its  application on erroneous grounds and  later 
  returned it without explanation.  According to Morris,  because 
  the Commission  returned its  application without  explanation, 
  it received  no guidance from the Commission  as to when or  if 
  it  would  have been  required  to  resubmit  its  application.  
  Morris maintains that  its failure to submit the application  a 
  third  time was  inadvertent  and argues  that  the  Commission 
  should  not impose  a  forfeiture  on it  when  the  Commission 
  failed to provide it  with the information it needed to  timely 
  and completely resubmit  its application.  Morris also  asserts 
  that  it  submitted  another  tower  registration   application 
  almost immediately after  the agent notified it that the  tower 
  was  not  registered.   Finally,  Morris  argues  that  if  the 
  forfeiture is not  rescinded, the forfeiture should be  reduced 
  because the violation was minor, it displayed good faith  after 
  being  informed of  the  violation, and  it  has a  history  of 
  compliance with the Commission's rules.

                      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''),6 Section 1.80 of the Rules,7  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  Morris'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.8

8.         Section 17.4(a) of the Rules provides that,  effective 
  July 1,  1996, the owner  of any proposed  or existing  antenna 
  structure that  requires notification to  the Federal  Aviation 
  Administration (``FAA'') must  register the structure with  the 
  Commission.  Section 17.4(a)(2) of the Rules provides that  the 
  owner of an  antenna structure that had been assigned  painting 
  or lighting  requirements prior to July  1, 1996 must  register 
  the structure  prior to July 1,  1998.  Morris admits that  its 
  Adrian tower was not  registered at the time of the  inspection 
  on  May 7,  2002.  Accordingly,  we find  that Morris  violated 
  Section 17.4(a) of the Rules.

9.        Morris argues that its violation of Section 17.4(a) was 
  not willful because it made two good faith efforts to  register 
  the  tower in  1999.  We  disagree.  The  term ``willful,''  as 
  used in Section 503(b)  of the Act, does not require a  finding 
  that the  rule violation was intentional  or that the  violator 
  was aware  that it was committing  a rule violation.9   Rather, 
  the term ``willful'' simply requires that the violator knew  it 
  was taking the  action in question, irrespective of any  intent 
  to  violate  the  Commission's  rules.10   Section   17.4(a)(2) 
  required the owner of  a tower that had been assigned  painting 
  or lighting requirements prior to July 1, 1996 to register  the 
  structure  prior   to  July  1,   1998.   Morris's  first   ASR 
  application for  the Adrian  tower, filed late  on January  29, 
  1999,11  was  dismissed  because  Morris  did  not  provide   a 
  response  to Item  28, the  environmental assessment  question.  
  Morris asserts that this application was dismissed  erroneously 
  because  it  did  provide   a  response  to  Item  28  in   the 
  application.  In support  of this assertion, Morris provides  a 
  copy  of   the  application  date   stamped  by  the   Wireless 
  Telecommunications Bureau  on January  29, 1999,  and again  on 
  August  9,  1999,  which  includes  a  response  to  Item   28.  
  However,  this copy  establishes only  that Morris  provided  a 
  response  to Item  28 when  it resubmitted  the application  on 
  August  9, 1999.   It  does  not establish  that  the  original 
  application  filed   by  Morris   on  January   29,  1999   was 
  complete.12  

10.       Morris  maintains   that   when  it   resubmitted   the 
  application  on August  9, 1999,  the Commission  returned  the 
  application  without explanation.   It  is not  entirely  clear 
  from  the  record  before  us  why  Morris's  application   was 
  returned a second time.13  We note, however, that in the  cover 
  letter accompanying the returned January 29, 1999  application, 
  the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau stated that Morris  must 
  resubmit the application within  60 days of the return date  of 
  the  letter,  February  8,  1999,  or  its  registration  would 
  ``purge''  from  the Commission's  database.   Morris  did  not 
  resubmit  the application  until more  than six  months  later.  
  Morris offers no explanation as to why it waited more than  six 
  months to resubmit  the application.  We further note that  the 
  geographic coordinates for  the antenna structure which  Morris 
  provided   in   the  returned   application   were   apparently 
  incorrect.   In  this regard,  Morris  indicates  that  in  the 
  Spring of  2000, it contacted a  land survey company to  obtain 
  certification regarding the specifics of the tower in order  to 
  ensure  the accuracy  of this  information in  preparation  for 
  resubmitting  the  application to  the  Commission.   The  land 
  survey company  provided Morris corrected  coordinates for  the 
  tower  in June  2000.14  Morris  states that  it  inadvertently 
  failed to resubmit the application after it obtained the  tower 
  certification  from  the  land  survey  company.   Under  these 
  circumstances, particularly  given Morris's  admission that  it 
  failed  to  resubmit   the  application  after  obtaining   the 
  corrected tower  coordinates from the  land survey company,  we 
  find unpersuasive Morris's  assertion that it did not  resubmit 
  its application  because the  Commission failed  to provide  it 
  with  the  information  it  needed  to  timely  and  completely 
  resubmit the application.  In addition, although Morris  claims 
  that its failure  to resubmit the application was  inadvertent, 
  Morris offers no  evidence that it had prepared an  application 
  or that it had  made any efforts whatsoever to comply with  the 
  registration  requirements subsequent  to obtaining  the  tower 
  certification from the land survey company.  

11.       Morris also  asserts  that  the  forfeiture  should  be 
  rescinded  because  it  submitted  another  tower  registration 
  application almost immediately after the FCC agent notified  it 
  that  the tower  was not  registered, and  thus acted  in  good 
  faith.    However, Morris's  remedial  efforts to  correct  the 
  violation do not warrant either rescission or reduction of  the 
  forfeiture   amount.15    Forfeitures   may   be   reduced   in 
  appropriate cases  for good  faith efforts to  comply prior  to 
  FCC  detection  of   the  violation,  not  subsequent  to   FCC 
  detection. 

12.       Morris further asserts  that the  forfeiture should  be 
  reduced because  the violation was minor  and it has a  history 
  of  overall  compliance   with  the  Commission's  rules.    We 
  disagree with Morris's  assertion that the violation was  minor 
  because  it received  a  ``no hazard''  determination  for  the 
  tower from the FAA16  and complied with the FAA's painting  and 
  lighting specifications for  the tower.  Although we  recognize 
  that  failure  to  register a  tower  is  relatively  minor  in 
  comparison  to  other tower  violations,  such  as  failure  to 
  comply   with   prescribed   tower   painting   and    lighting 
  requirements, that factor  has already been taken into  account 
  in setting the  base forfeiture amount for failure to  register 
  an  antenna  structure  at  $3,000.17   Furthermore,  we   have 
  previously rejected the  argument that a tower owner's  failure 
  to  post an  ASR  number on  or near  the  base of  an  antenna 
  structure is a minor violation, citing the potential impact  on 
  public safety that  an ASR posting violation might have.18   We 
  similarly  believe   that  failure  to   register  an   antenna 
  structure, which  is a more serious  violation than failure  to 
  post  an ASR  number,  is not  a  minor violation  due  to  the 
  potential impact  on public safety.19   Nevertheless, we  agree 
  that reduction of  the forfeiture amount from $3,000 to  $2,400 
  is warranted  based on Morris's  history of overall  compliance 
  with the Commission's rules. 

13.       We have examined Morris'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 Morris willfully violated Section 17.4(a) of  the 
  Rules, but  we reduce the $3,000  forfeiture proposed for  this 
  violation to $2,400 in light of Morris's history of  compliance 
  with the Commission's rules.

                      IV.  ORDERING CLAUSES

14.       Accordingly, IT IS  ORDERED that,  pursuant to  Section 
  503 of  the Act, and  Sections 0.111, 0.311  and 1.80(f)(4)  of 
  the Rules,20 Morris Communications Group, Inc. IS LIABLE FOR  A 
  MONETARY FORFEITURE in the amount of two thousand four  hundred 
  dollars ($2,400)  for willful violation  of Section 17.4(a)  of 
  the Rules.

15.       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.21  Payment may 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 reference  NAL/Acct. No.  200232480011 and  FRN 
  0001-8848-57.  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. 
  20554.22

16.       IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that  a copy of this Order  shall 
  be sent by first class mail and certified mail, return  receipt 
  requested,  to  Morris  Communications, Inc.,  P.O. Box  16419, 
  Greenville,  South   Carolina  29606,  and   to  its   counsel, 
  Frederick  M.   Joyce,  Esq.,  Alston   &  Bird,  L.L.P.,   601 
  Pennsylvania  Avenue,   N.W.,  North   Building,  10th   Floor, 
  Washington, D.C. 20004-2601.

                         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. 
200232480011 (Enf. Bur., Atlanta Office, released July 8, 2002). 

  3  Morris's  pleading   was  captioned  as  a  ``petition   for 
reconsideration,'' rather than a response to the NAL.  Consistent 
with Section 1.80(f)(3) of the Rules, 47 C.F.R.  1.80(f)(3),  we 
will treat this pleading as a response to the NAL.  

  4 See 47 C.F.R.  17.7(a).

  5  On June  3, 2002,  the Commission  dismissed Morris's  tower 
registration application because  the geographic coordinates  and 
elevation height  for  the  antenna structure  specified  in  the 
application  did  not  match   the  geographic  coordinates   and 
elevation height  specified in  the FAA  study on  file with  the 
Commission for that structure.   Morris subsequently filed for  a 
new FAA study and  resubmitted its registration application.   On 
August 13, 2002, the Commission granted Morris's ASR  application 
and issued a registration number (ASR No. 1235383) for the tower.   

  6 47 U.S.C.  503(b).

  7 47 C.F.R.  1.80.

  8 47 U.S.C.  503(b)(2)(D).

  9 Section  312(f)(1) of the Act,  47 U.S.C.  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,' 
... 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) (``Southern California'').  

  10  See Southern California, 6 FCC Rcd at 4387.  

  11  We  note   that  ASR  applications  for  existing   antenna 
structures in South Carolina were  required to be filed during  a 
30-day  filing  window   from  April   1  to   April  30,   1998.  
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, 4279 (1995) (``Streamlining'').

  12 Indeed,  we note that Morris's response  to Item 28 on  this 
copy of the application appears to be in a different  handwriting 
than the rest of the application.

  13 Although current Commission records do not indicate why  the 
August 9, 1999 application was returned to Morris, we think it is 
unlikely  that   the  application   was  returned   without   any 
explanation.  However, even assuming arguendo that the Commission 
returned the  application  to  Morris  without  any  explanation, 
Morris does not explain why it did not even attempt to  ascertain 
why the application was returned.  

  14 The returned  application listed the geographic  coordinates 
for the tower  as 33 58'  05'' North latitude  and 79 02'  00'' 
West longitude.   The tower  certification provided  by the  land 
survey company in  June 2000 indicates  that the coordinates  for 
the tower are actually 33 58' 11.5'' North latitude and 79  02' 
03'' West longitude.  The FAA  requires a new aeronautical  study 
for corrections in latitude or  longitude of one second or  more, 
or a correction in height of one  foot or more.  In such a  case, 
the tower  owner  must  seek  a new  FAA  determination  of  ``no 
hazard'' prior to registration.  See Streamlining, 11 FCC Rcd  at 
4287.    

  15 See  e.g., AT&T Wireless Services,  Inc., 17 FCC Rcd  21866, 
21871 (2002);  Seawest  Yacht Brokers,  9  FCC Rcd  6099  (1994); 
Station KGVL, Inc., 42 FCC 2d 258, 259 (1973).

  16 We note that Morris's 1984 ``no hazard'' determination  from 
the FAA was no longer valid because that determination was  based 
on incorrect geographic coordinates.  See supra n. 14.

  17  We note  that the  base forfeiture  amount for  failure  to 
comply with tower painting  or lighting requirements is  $10,000.  
See 47 C.F.R.  1.80(b)(4), Note to paragraph (b)(4):  Section I. 
Base Amounts  for  Section  503  Forfeitures;  Forfeiture  Policy 
Statement, 12 FCC Rcd at 17114, Appendix A, Section I.

  18 See  AT&T Wireless Services,  Inc.,  16 FCC  Rcd 6805,  6806 
(Enf. Bur. 2001).  

  19 In  support of its assertion  that the violation was  minor, 
Morris cites Motorola, Inc., 12 FCC Rcd 15268 (Comp. & Inf.  Bur. 
1997) (``Motorola''), a case in  which the former Compliance  and 
Information Bureau (``Bureau'') reduced a forfeiture issued to  a 
tower owner  for  a  tower lighting  violation  from  $10,000  to 
$5,000.  Contrary  to Morris's  suggestion,  the Bureau  did  not 
reduce the forfeiture in Motorola because it determined that  the 
light outage was a minor  violation.  Rather, the Bureau  reduced 
the forfeiture in that  case because Motorola presented  evidence 
that it had  notified the FAA  of the light  outage prior to  the 
inspection by the FCC agents and  stayed in contact with the  FAA 
until the light outage was  corrected.  Thus, unlike the  instant 
case, the Bureau  found that Motorola's  correction of the  light 
outage ``stemmed  from Motorola's  own efforts  and not  a  hasty 
attempt to comply  due to the  FCC inspection.''  12  FCC Rcd  at 
15269.

  20 47 C.F.R.  0.111, 0.311, 1.80(f)(4).

  21 47 U.S.C.  504(a).

  22 See 47 C.F.R.  1.1914.