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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of )
) File No. EB-02-TP-550
Rama Communications, Inc. )
Licensee of Station WLAA(AM ) NAL/Acct. No. 200432700011
Winter Park, Florida )
) FRN: 0005-0080-16
Adopted: December 22, 2004 Released: December 23,
By the Assistant Chief, Enforcement Bureau:
1. In this Forfeiture Order (``Order''), we issue a
monetary forfeiture in the amount of eighteen thousand dollars
($18,000) to Rama Communications (``Rama''), licensee of AM radio
station WLAA, Winter Garden, Florida, for willful and repeated
violation of Sections 11.35(a) and 73.3526(c)(1) of the
Commission's Rules (``Rules'').1 The noted violations involve
Rama's failure to maintain operational Emergency Alert System
(``EAS'') equipment, and failure to make available the required
public file documents during regular business hours.
2. On March 5, 2004, the Commission's Tampa, Florida
District Office (``Tampa Office'') issued a Notice of Apparent
Liability for Forfeiture (``NAL'') to Rama for a forfeiture in
the amount of eighteen thousand dollars ($18,000).2 Rama filed a
response to the NAL on April 5, 2004.
3. On June 3, 2003, the Tampa Office received a complaint
regarding WLAA's operations. On June 13, 2003, agents from the
Tampa Office inspected WLAA. During the inspection, the agents
tried twice to run an EAS test using the shared EAS equipment
with co-located and co-owned station WOKB(AM) also in Winter
Garden, Florida. The tests were not successfully transmitted
over station WLAA. The station logs for WLAA showed no entries
of EAS tests for the past six months. Further, the public
inspection file for WLAA did not contain a copy of the current
Commission license, contour maps, most recent ownership report,
employment reports, issues/program lists or local public notice
announcements. On July 25, 2003, the agents made another
investigation which revealed that the entire public file was not
available at the main studio, but at another address instead.
4. On March 5, 2003, the Tampa Office issued the subject
NAL to Rama for apparent willful and repeated violation of
11.35(a) and 73.3526(c)(1) of the Rules. Rama responded to the
NAL stating that the station's recent move caused a problem with
the EAS equipment on station WLAA, but not station WOKB which
shares the EAS equipment. The engineer corrected the EAS problem
as soon as he was made aware of it after the inspection.
Similarly, Rama states that the EAS log book should have been
marked to reflect that it contained EAS records for both WLAA and
WOKB, instead of just WOKB. Rama admitted that during the June
13 inspection the public inspection file had missing items, but
maintains that the file was then relocated and was available at
the new location, and that ``the contents of the public
inspection file has been addressed by the station manager.''
Rama seeks an elimination of the forfeiture or a reduction, based
on the violations being technical in nature and not warranting an
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 (``Forfeiture Policy Statement''). 5 In examining
Rama'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 such other matters as justice may require.6
6. Section 11.35(a) of the Rules requires that
broadcast stations be responsible for ensuring that EAS Encoders,
EAS Decoders, and Attention Signal generating and receiving
equipment used as part of the EAS are installed such that
monitoring and transmitting functions are available during the
times that the stations are in operation. On June 13, 2003,
Rama's EAS equipment for WLAA was not operational.7 Rama does
not contest the violation and states that its engineer fixed the
problem quickly.8 The Commission has consistently found that
while commendable, ``corrective action taken to come into
compliance with Commission rules or policy is expected, and does
not nullify or mitigate any prior forfeitures or violations.''9
Further, under Section 503(b)(1)(B) of the Act,10 a broadcast
licensee that ``willfully or repeatedly'' fails to comply with
any provision of the Act or any rule, regulation or order issued
by the Commission under the Act'' is subject to forfeiture
liability. In this context, ``willful'' simply means the
conscious and deliberate commission or omission of an act,
irrespective of any intent to violate statutory or regulatory
requirements.11 Further, ``repeated'' means the violation
continued for more than one day.12 In that regard, we note that
according to Rama, the violation had existed since a recent move.
As such, the equipment was inoperable for more than one day.
Accordingly, we conclude that Rama willfully and repeatedly
violated Section 11.35(a) of the Rules.
7. Section 73.3526(c)(1) of the Rules requires that a
station's public inspection file be available for inspection at
any time during regular business hours. In its response, Rama
does not contest that its public inspection file was incomplete
for the first inspection on June 13, but does admit that the file
had been relocated to a different location and was not at the
main studio at the time of the second inspection on July 25,
2003. Rama claims further that ``the contents of the public
inspection file has been addressed by the station manager,'' but
provides no indication when the missing contents were actually
added to the file. Again, as noted above, corrective action
taken to come into compliance with Commission rules does not
nullify or mitigate any prior forfeitures or violations.13 The
public inspection file was not available as required at the time
of inspection. Accordingly, we find that Rama willfully violated
Section 73.3526(c)(1) of the Rules, and conclude that the later
correction of the public inspection file status does not mitigate
the proposed forfeiture.
8. Finally, Rama argues that the violations were
``technical'' in nature and as such, should not warrant an
$18,000 forfeiture. We disagree; the Commission has found that
an EAS equipment failure or failure to maintain a public
inspection log are not merely technical or minor violations,14
and the assessed forfeiture amounts are specifically set out in
the ``Guidelines for Assessing Forfeitures'' in the Commission's
Rules.15 We have examined Rama'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
Rama willfully and repeatedly violated Sections 11.35(a) and
73.3526(c)(1) of the Rules and we find no grounds to reduce or
cancel the forfeiture amount proposed in the NAL.
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,16 Rama Communications, Inc., licensee of Station
WLAA(AM), in Winter Garden, Florida, IS LIABLE FOR A MONETARY
FORFEITURE in the amount of eighteen thousand dollars ($18,000)
for its willful and repeated violation of Sections 73.3526(c)(1)
and 11.35(a) 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.17
Payment of the forfeiture must be made by check or similar
instrument, payable to the order of the Federal Communications
Commission. The payment must include the NAL/Acct. No. and FRN
No. referenced above. Payment by check or money order may be
mailed to Forfeiture Collection Section, Finance Branch, Federal
Communications Commission, P.O. Box 73482, Chicago, Illinois
60673-7482. Payment by overnight mail may be sent to Bank One/LB
73482, 525 West Monroe, 8th Floor Mailroom, Chicago, IL 60661.
Payment by wire transfer may be made to ABA Number 071000013,
receiving bank Bank One, and account number 1165259. 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. 20554.18
11. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a copy of this Order shall
be sent by First Class and Certified Mail Return Receipt
Requested to Rama Communications, Inc., P.O. Box 680889, Orlando,
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
George R. Dillon
Assistant Chief, Enforcement Bureau
1 47 C.F.R. §§ 11.35(a), 73.3526(c)(1).
2 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, NAL/Acct. No.
200432700011 (Enf. Bur., Tampa, Florida Office, released March 5,
3 47 U.S.C. § 503(b).
4 47 C.F.R. § 1.80.
5 12 FCC Rcd 17087 (1997), recon. denied, 15 FCC Rcd 303 (1999).
6 47 U.S.C. § 503(b)(2)(D).
7 Moreover, there were no entries in the station's log to
indicate any problem or malfunction of the EAS equipment, as
required by 47 C.F.R. § 11.35(b).
8 Rama's response included a sworn statement by its engineer that
he successfully rewired the EAS equipment when told of the
problems discovered during the Commission's June 13, 2004
9 Seawest Yacht Brokers, 9 FCC Rcd 6099 (1994); AT&T Wireless
Services, Inc., 17 FCC Rcd 21866, 21871 (2002).
10 47 U.S.C. § 503(b)(1)(B).
11 See 47 U.S.C. § 312(f)(1) (emphasis added); see also Southern
California Broadcasting Co., 6 FCC Rcd 4387, 4387-88, ¶ 5 (1991).
12 As provided by 47 U.S.C. § 312(f)(2), a continuous violation
is ``repeated'' if it continues for more than one day. The
Conference Report for Section 312(f)(2) indicates that Congress
intended to apply this definition to Section 503 of the Act as
well as Section 312. See H.R. Rep. 97th Cong. 2d Sess. 51
(1982). See Southern California Broadcasting Company, supra, at
4388 and Western Wireless Corporation, 18 FCC Rcd 10319 at fn. 56
13 See note 9, infra.
14 See Mapa Broadcasting, L.L.C., 17 FCC Rcd 10519 (Enf. Bur.
2002) (finding that not having the required EAS equipment was not
a minor violation) and Jesse C. Ross and Ernestine A. Ross,
Forfeiture Order (Enf. Bur. released Oct. 22, 2004) (assessing
the same forfeiture amount for violations of the same rules).
15 47 C.F.R. § 1.80(b)(4). The forfeiture amount for each
violation is also set out in the Policy Statement, supra, at
16 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.111, 0.311, 1.80(f)(4).
17 47 U.S.C. § 504(a).
18 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.1914.