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

In the Matter of                )
                                )
South Arundel Citizens for Responsible  )
Development                     )
Licensee of Station WRYR-LP     )
Sherwood, Maryland              )    File No. EB-03-HS-020
                                )
                                )
Request for Waiver of Section 11.11(a) of the     )    
Commission's Rules              )    
                                        
                              ORDER 

Adopted:  November 25, 2003             Released:   November  25, 
2003  

By the Director, Office of Homeland Security, Enforcement Bureau:

                        I.  INTRODUCTION

     1.   On October 6, 2003, the South Arundel Citizens for 
Responsible Development (South Arundel), on behalf of WRYR-LP, a 
low power FM station in Sherwood, Maryland, filed a request for a 
24-month waiver of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) requirements 
as set forth in section 11.11 of the rules of the Federal 
Communications Commission (Commission).1  For the reasons 
indicated below, we grant South Arundel a six month extension of 
the EAS rules.

     2.   Section 11.11(a) requires Low Power FM (LPFM) stations 
to install a Commission-certified EAS decoder or decoder/encoder 
by October 24, 2003.2  In 2002, the Commission granted LPFM 
stations a temporary blanket waiver of the requirement in the EAS 
rules that LPFM stations install FCC-certified decoders, because 
at that time, there were no FCC-certified EAS decoders on the 
market.3  The Commission also amended the EAS rules to exempt 
LPFM stations from installing FCC-certified decoders until one 
year after the Commission published a Public Notice in the 
Federal Register indicating that at least one decoder has been 
certified.4  On September 19, 2002, the Commission released a 
Public Notice indicating that there was one manufacturer that 
offered an FCC-certified decoder.5  Thus, LPFM stations were 
required to be EAS compliant by October 24, 2003.   

     3.   The Commission has stated that it would grant case-by-
case waivers of the EAS rules to LPFM stations that made a 
showing of financial hardship.  The Commission indicated that 
waiver requests must contain at least the following information:  
(1) justification for the waiver, with reference to the 
particular rule sections for which a waiver is sought; (2) 
information about the financial status of the requesting entity, 
such as a balance sheet and income statement for the two previous 
years (audited, if possible); (3) the number of other entities 
that serve the requesting entity's coverage area and that have or 
are expected to install EAS equipment; and (4) the likelihood 
(such as proximity or frequency) of hazardous risks to the 
requesting entity's audience.6

                         III. DISCUSSION

     4.   South Arundel filed a request for a temporary, 24-month 
waiver of section 11.11(a) for Station WRYR-LP on October 6, 
2003.  In support of its waiver request, South Arundel states 
that WRYR-LP is a community non-profit radio station with no 
advertising or other income sources and that it is operated by 
volunteers and funded by donations from the community.  According 
to South Arundel, the one available EAS decoder for LPFM stations 
would cost $1,800.  South Arundel asserts that this cost would 
impose a financial hardship on the station and provides financial 
statements in support of this assertion.  South Arundel does not 
mention any other stations in the WRYR-LP coverage area that have 
installed EAS equipment or expect to do so, but does note that 
WRYR-LP has been able to report emergency events as part of its 
day-to-day live programming (specifically, Hurricane Isabel), and 
would continue to do so.

     5.   Given WRYR-LP's modest budget and all volunteer work 
force, we believe that it would impose an unnecessary financial 
burden to require WRYR-LP immediately to install an EAS decoder.  
However, WRYR-LP has been on notice for over a year that it is 
obligated to install an EAS decoder, and, as indicated in its 
2003 financial statements, has been able to budget $12,200.00 for 
equipment during this time.  As a result, we believe that the 
financial hardship that would result from requiring WRYR-LP to 
install an $1,800.00 EAS decoder is not of sufficient magnitude 
to justify a 24-month extension.  South Arundel has not shown 
that any other station within its coverage area has EAS 
capability, and its efforts to supply emergency information to 
its listeners, while laudable, are not a sufficient substitute 
for complying with the EAS requirements.  Under these 
circumstances, we believe that six months is sufficient time for 
WRYR-LP to install an EAS decoder, and accordingly grant WRYR-LP 
an additional six months from the date of the initial October 24, 
2003 deadline to comply with the Commission's EAS rules.

                      IV. ORDERING CLAUSES

     6.   Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED, pursuant to Sections 0.111, 
0.204(b) and 0.311 of the Commission's rules,7 that the request 
of South Arundel Citizens for Responsible Development for a 
waiver of section 11.11(a) of the rules station WRYR-LP, is 
GRANTED, consistent with the discussion and conclusions in this 
Order.
                

 

     7.   IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that WRYR-LP, place a copy of 
this waiver in its station files. 

     8.   IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a copy of this Order shall 
be sent by Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested to Chris E. 
Pokorski, Station Manager, WRYR-LP, and P.O. Box 205, Churchton, 
Maryland 20733.   

                         FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
                         


                         James A. Dailey
                         Director
                         Office of Homeland Security
                         Enforcement Bureau

_________________________

1  47 C.F.R.  11.11.

2  Id., n. 2.

3  Amendment of Part 11  of the Commission's Rules Regarding  the 
Emergency Alert System, Report and Order, EB Docket No. 01-66, 17 
FCC Rcd 4055 (2002).

4  Id. at 4084.

5  See Notice Regarding Certification of EAS Decoder, DA-02-2312, 
Public Notice, 67 Fed. Reg. 65321 (Oct. 24, 2002).

6  Creation  of Low  Power Radio  Service, Report  and Order,  MM 
Docket 99-25, 15 FCC Rcd 2205 (2000).

7  47 C.F.R.  0.111, 0.204(b) and 0.311.