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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of ) File No.: EB-
) NAL/Acct. No.
Coffee County Broadcasting, Inc. )
Manchester, Tennessee )
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Adopted: February 20, 2004 Released: February 24,
By the Chief, Enforcement Bureau:
1. In this Memorandum Opinion and Order (``Order''), we
deny the petition for reconsideration filed by Coffee
County Broadcasting, Inc. (``Coffee County''),
licensee of radio station WMSR(AM), Manchester,
Tennessee. Coffee County seeks reconsideration of the
Forfeiture Order1 in which the Chief, Enforcement
Bureau (``Bureau''), found it liable for a monetary
forfeiture in the amount of $7,000 for willful
violation of Section 73.1125(a) of the Commission's
Rules (``Rules'').2 The noted violation involves
Coffee County's willful failure to maintain a presence
at its main studio during normal business hours.
2. On July 11, 2002, an agent from the Commission's
Atlanta, Georgia Office (``Atlanta Office'') attempted to inspect
station WMSR(AM)'s main studio; however, the agent was unable to
gain access to the studio. On July 15, 2002, the agent
telephoned station WMSR(AM) but reached an answering service
which confirmed that calls were referred to it when the studio
was unmanned. On July 18, 2002, the agent contacted WMSR(AM)'s
general manager, who confirmed that the studio had been
unstaffed. The general manager was unaware of the studio
staffing requirements during normal business hours.
3. On September 30, 2002, the District Director of the
Atlanta Office issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for
Forfeiture (``NAL'')3 in the amount of $7,000 for willful
violation of Section 73.1125(a) of the Rules. Coffee County did
not file a response to the NAL. The Bureau's Forfeiture Order,
released January 31, 2003, affirmed the forfeiture proposed by
the NAL. On February 26, 2003, Coffee County filed a petition
for reconsideration of the Forfeiture Order.
4. The forfeiture amount in this case was assessed in
accordance with Section 503(b) of the Communications Act of
1934 as amended (``Act''), 4 Section 1.80 of the Rules,5 and
The Commission's Forfeiture Policy Statement and Amendment
of Section 1.80 of the Rules to Incorporate the Forfeiture
Guidelines.6 In examining Coffee County's petition, 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 any other such matters as justice may require.7
5. Coffee County does not challenge the Bureau's finding
that it violated Section 73.1125(a) of the Rules. Nevertheless,
Coffee County seeks cancellation of the forfeiture. In support
of its request for cancellation, Coffee County states that it now
has full-time main studio staffing during normal business hours
and that it is pursuing participation in the Tennessee
Association of Broadcasters Alternative Inspection Program.
Although Coffee County's corrective actions are commendable, they
do not mitigate its violation. As the Commission stated in
Seawest Yacht Brokers, 9 FCC Rcd 6099, 6099 (1994), ``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.'' 8 Further, Coffee County asserts
that payment of the forfeiture will be a hardship that will
handicap its ability to remain an active part of the community.
However, we have reviewed the financial information provided by
Coffee County and we find that this information does not provide
a basis for cancellation or reduction of the forfeiture. Indeed,
the forfeiture is a very small percentage of Coffee County's
gross revenues.9 Finally, Coffee County states that it has never
had any major FCC violations, which we interpret to be a claim of
history of overall compliance with the Commission's Rules.
However, we note that the Atlanta Office issued a Notice of
Violation to Coffee County on April 9, 1999, therefore, Coffee
County's claim of history of overall compliance should not result
in a reduction of the forfeiture.10
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES
6. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to Section
405 of the Act11 and Section 1.106 of the Rules,12 Coffee
County's petition for reconsideration of the February 26, 2003,
Forfeiture Order IS DENIED.
7. Payment of the forfeiture shall be made in the manner
provided for in Section 1.80 of the Rules13 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.14
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. 200232480027 and FRN 0003-7625-64. 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. 20554.15
8. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT this Order shall be
sent by regular mail and by certified mail, return receipt
requested, to Coffee County Broadcasting, Inc., 1030 Oakdale St.,
Manchester, Tennessee 37355.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
David H. Solomon
Chief, Enforcement Bureau
1 18 FCC Rcd 1033 (Enf. Bur. 2003).
2 47 C.F.R. § 73.1125(a).
3 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, NAL/Acct. No.
20023480027 (Enf. Bur., Atlanta Office, released September 30,
4 47 U.S.C. § 503(b).
5 47 C.F.R. § 1.80.
6 12 FCC Rcd. 17087 (1997), recon. denied, 15 FCC Rcd. 303
7 47 U.S.C. § 503(b)(2)(D).
8 See also AT&T Wireless Services, Inc., 17 FCC Rcd 21866,
9 See Alpha Ambulance, Inc., FCC 04-19, 2, n.15 (February 5,
2004), citing PJB Communications, 7 FCC Rcd at 2089 (forfeiture
not deemed excessive where it represented approximately 2.02
percent of the violator's gross revenues); Local Long Distance,
Inc., 16 FCC Rcd at 10025 (forfeiture not deemed excessive where
it represented approximately 7.9 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). In this case, the forfeiture represents a smaller
percentage than those issued in the Local Long Distance, Inc.,
and Hoosier Broadcasting Corp., cases, and only a nominally
higher percentage compared to the forfeiture issued in PJB
Communications of Virginia, Inc.
10 See Clarke Broadcasting Corporation, 18 FCC Rcd 18732,
18734 (Enf. Bur. 2003).
11 47 U.S.C. § 405.
12 47 C.F.R. § 1.106.
13 47 C.F.R. § 1.80.
14 47 U.S.C. § 504(a).
15 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.1914.