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

In the Matter of                )  
                                )       
Meade County Communications, Inc.    )       File  No.  EB-02-CG-
083
WMMG-FM                         )
Brandenberg, Kentucky           )       NAL/Acct.             No. 
200332320001
                                )
                                )       FRN 0003-7623-33    

                        FORFEITURE ORDER 

Adopted:  January 20, 2004              Released:   January   22, 
2004

By the Chief, Enforcement Bureau:

                        I.  INTRODUCTION

                            1.     In   this   Forfeiture   Order 
                               (``Order''), we  issue a  monetary 
                               forfeiture in the amount of  three 
                               thousand   dollars   ($3,000)   to 
                               Meade County Communications,  Inc. 
                               (``Meade''),      for      willful 
                               violation  of  Section  17.4(a)(2) 
                               of    the    Commission's    Rules 
                               (``Rules'').1       The      noted 
                               violation     involves     Meade's 
                               failure to  register  its  antenna 
                               structure. 

                            2.     On  October   18,  2002,   the 
                               Commission's  Chicago,   Illinois, 
                               Field Office (``Chicago  Office'') 
                               issued  a   Notice   of   Apparent 
                               Liability      for      Forfeiture 
                               (``NAL'')   to    Meade   for    a 
                               forfeiture in the amount of  three 
                               thousand    dollars     ($3,000).2  
                               Meade filed  its response  to  the 
                               NAL on November 8, 2002.

                         II.  BACKGROUND

                            3.     Meade is the licensee of radio 
                               station  WMMG-FM  in  Brandenberg, 
                               Kentucky,  and  is  the  owner  of 
                               that station's antenna  structure.  
                               Following his inspection of  WMMG-
                               FM on February  5, 2002, an  agent 
                               from the  Chicago Office  searched 
                               the      Commission's      antenna 
                               registration      records      and 
                               determined that the WMMG-FM  tower 
                               was not  registered, in  violation 
                               of  Section   17.4(a)(2)  of   the 
                               Rules.

                            4.     The Chicago  Office  issued  a 
                               Notice of  Violation to  Meade  on 
                               February   26,   2002,   for   the 
                               violation.    In   its   response, 
                               dated March 4, 2002, Meade  stated 
                               that it  had registered  WMMG-FM's 
                               tower  following  the  inspection.  
                               On October 18,  2002, the  Chicago 
                               Office issued a  NAL to Meade  for 
                               a  forfeiture  in  the  amount  of 
                               $3,000 for  willful  violation  of 
                               Section   17.4(a)(2).    In    its 
                               response,       Meade        seeks 
                               cancellation or  reduction of  the 
                               proposed   monetary    forfeiture.  
                               Meade argues that  its failure  to 
                               register  the  antenna   structure 
                               was not a  willful.  In  addition, 
                               Meade asserts  that it  is  unable 
                               to  pay  the  proposed  forfeiture 
                               amount  at   this  time   but   is 
                               willing to  enter into  a  payment 
                               plan.

                      III.      DISCUSSION

                            5.     The proposed 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 
                               Meade'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

                            6.     Section  17.4(a)(2)   of   the 
                               Rules  required   the  owners   of 
                               existing antenna  structures  that 
                               were    assigned    painting    or 
                               lighting requirements before  July 
                               1,   1996,   to   register   those 
                               antenna structures  no later  than 
                               July  1,  1998.   WMMG-FM's  tower 
                               was subject to this  requirement.6  
                               On the  basis of  the FCC  agent's 
                               investigation     and      Meade's 
                               response,   we   find   that   the 
                               antenna    structure    was    not 
                               registered   until    after    the 
                               inspection on  February  5,  2002, 
                               and that  Meade  violated  Section 
                               17.4(a)(2) by failing to  register 
                               it.  Meade  asserts,  through  its 
                               general manager, that its  failure 
                               to register the antenna  structure 
                               ``was not  a willful  act as  much 
                               as  it  was   an  act  that   fell 
                               through the  cracks . .  . of  the 
                               engineer  that   was  filing   the 
                               registration and  myself  for  not 
                               checking with him to make sure  it 
                               was  done.''   As  the  Commission 
                               recently     reiterated,     ``the 
                               Commission  has  long  held   that 
                               licensees  and  other   Commission 
                               regulatees  are  responsible   for 
                               the acts  and omissions  of  their 
                               employees     and      independent 
                               contractors and  has  consistently 
                               refused to  excuse licensees  from 
                               forfeiture     penalties     where 
                               actions    of     employees     or 
                               independent    contractors    have 
                               resulted in violations.''7   Meade 
                               is,  therefore,  chargeable   with 
                               knowledge   of   its    engineer's 
                               failure  to   register   WMMG-FM's 
                               antenna  structure.8    We   find, 
                               therefore, that Meade's  violation 
                               of    Section    17.4(a)(2)    was 
                               willful.9 

                            7.     Meade  contends  that  it   is 
                               unable   to   pay   the   proposed 
                               forfeiture amount  at  this  time.  
                               In  support   of  its   claim   of 
                               financial  hardship,   Meade   has 
                               submitted its  federal income  tax 
                               returns for tax  years 1999,  2000 
                               and  2001.   The  Commission   has 
                               determined  that,  in  general,  a 
                               licensee's gross revenues are  the 
                               best indicator of  its ability  to 
                               pay   a    forfeiture.10     After 
                               reviewing   the   financial   data 
                               submitted, we find no evidence  in 
                               Meade's   response   that    would 
                               support   cancellation   of    the 
                               forfeiture or  a  reduction  based 
                               upon   financial   hardship.    11  
                               However, as  explicitly stated  in 
                               the NAL  and  set forth  below  in 
                               paragraph 10, Meade  may submit  a 
                               request for  full payment  of  the 
                               forfeiture  under  an  installment 
                               plan    consistent    with     the 
                               instructions below.

                            8.     We   have   examined   Meade'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 
                               Meade willfully  violated  Section 
                               17.4(a)(2) of the  Rules and  find 
                               that  neither   cancellation   nor 
                               reduction    of    the    proposed 
                               monetary forfeiture is warranted.

                        IV.  ORDERING CLAUSES

                            9.     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,12  Meade 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)(2) 
                               of the Rules.

                            10.    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.13  
                               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. 
                               200332320001  and  FRN  0003-7623-
                               33.   In   response   to   Meade's 
                               request for  an installment  plan, 
                               requests for  full  payment  under 
                               an  installment  plan  should   be 
                               sent  to:   Chief,   Revenue   and 
                               Receivables   Group,   445    12th 
                               Street,  S.W.,  Washington,   D.C. 
                               20554.14







                            11.    IT  IS  FURTHER  ORDERED  that 
                               copies  of  this  Order  shall  be 
                               sent  by  Certified  Mail   Return 
                               Receipt  Requested  and  by  First 
                               Class   Mail   to   Meade   County 
                               Communications, Inc., 1715  Bypass 
                               Road, P.O.  Box 505,  Brandenberg, 
                               Kentucky 40108-0505.

                              FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION  

                              David H. Solomon
                              Chief, Enforcement Bureau

_________________________

  1 47 C.F.R.  17.4(a)(2).  

  2 Notice  of Apparent Liability  for Forfeiture, NAL/Acct.  No. 
200332920001 (Enf. Bur., Chicago Office, released July 31, 2002).

  3 47 U.S.C.  503(b).

  4 47 C.F.R.  1.80.

  5 47 U.S.C.  503(b)(2)(D).

  6  The  Commission's TOWPUB  tower  data  base  indicates  that 
WMMG's tower  was  assigned  painting  or  lighting  requirements 
before July 1, 1996.

  7 Eure Family  Limited Partnership, 17 FCC Rcd 21861,  21863-64 
(2002)  (internal  quotation  marks  omitted)  and  cases   cited 
therein.

  8  See Pinnacle  Towers,  Inc., 18  FCC  Rcd 16365  (Enf.  Bur. 
2003).

  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).  

  10  See PJB Communications  of Virginia, Inc., 7 FCC Rcd  2088, 
2089 (1992). 

  11 See  PJB Communications, 7 FCC  Rcd at 2089 (forfeiture  not 
deemed excessive where it represented approximately 2.02  percent 
of  the   violator's   gross  revenues);   Hoosier   Broadcasting 
Corporation, 15 FCC Rcd 8640,  8641 (Enf. Bur. 2002)  (forfeiture 
not deemed  excessive  where  it  represented  approximately  7.6 
percent of the violator's  gross revenues); Afton  Communications 
Corp., 7  FCC Rcd  6741  (Com. Car.  Bur. 1992)  (forfeiture  not 
deemed excessive where it  represented approximately 3.9  percent 
of the violator's gross revenues).

  12 47 C.F.R.  0.111, 0.311, 1.80(f)(4).

  13 47 U.S.C.  504(a).

  14 See 47 C.F.R.  1.1914.