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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of
Wilson Broadcasting, Inc.
Licensee of WJJN-FM FRN: 0004333019
Columbia, Alabama File Number: EB-07-AT-015
Facility ID # 30280 NAL/Acct. No.: 200732480006
Licensee of WAGF (AM) File Number: EB-07-AT-013
Dothan, Alabama NAL/Acct. No.: 200732480004
Facility ID # 30278 File Number: EB-07-AT-014
Licensee of WAGF-FM NAL/Acct. No.: 200732480005
Facility ID # 30279
Adopted: April 19, 2007 Released: April 23, 2007
By the Regional Director, South Central Region, Enforcement Bureau:
1. In this Forfeiture Order ("Order"), we issue a monetary forfeiture in
the amount of twelve thousand dollars ($12,000) to Wilson
Broadcasting, Inc. ("Wilson"), licensee of station WJJN-FM, in
Columbia, Alabama and stations WAGF (AM) and WAGF-FM in Dothan,
Alabama ("Three Stations"), for willful and repeated violation of
Section 73.3526 of the Commission's Rules ("Rules"). The noted
violations involve Wilson's failure to maintain complete public
2. The Three Stations are co-located in one main studio. On January 23,
2007, an agent from the Commission's Atlanta Office of the Enforcement
Bureau ("Atlanta Office") requested to inspect the Three Stations'
public inspection files during normal business hours. The stations'
owner produced a single file for all three stations. That file
contained a file for Issues/Programs lists that contained one document
labeled Issues/Programs and dated March 2003. The Three Stations'
owner admitted that he had not compiled the Issues/Programs lists
since March 2003, and no material for any of the lists was readily
available at the co-located main studio.
3. On February 13, 2007, the Atlanta Office issued three Notices of
Apparent Liability for Forfeiture to Wilson, each in the amount of
four thousand dollars ($4,000), for the apparent willful and repeated
violation of Section 73.3526 of the Rules. Wilson submitted a response
to the NALs requesting a reduction or cancellation of the proposed
4. The proposed forfeiture amounts in this case was assessed in
accordance with Section 503(b) of the Communications Act of 1934, as
amended, Section 1.80 of the Rules, 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) ("Forfeiture Policy Statement"). In
examining Wilson'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. Section 73.3526(a)(2) of the Rules requires each broadcast station to
maintain for public inspection, a file containing materials listed in
that section. Section 73.3526(a)(2) also states that: "[a] separate
file shall be maintained for each station for which an authorization
is outstanding..." Section 73.3526(c)(1) of the Rules states that the
file shall be available for public inspection at any time during
regular business hours. Section 73.3526(e)(12) of the Rules requires
licensees to place in the public inspection file, for each calendar
quarter, a list of programs that have provided the station's most
significant treatment of community issues during the preceding three
month period. This list is known as the radio Issues/Programs list. On
January 22, 2007, in response to a request during normal business
hours to inspect the public inspection files, the Three Stations
failed to make available any copies of radio Issues/Programs lists
after March 2003. The owner of the Three Stations admitted that he
failed to maintain any Issues/Programs lists after March 2003.
6. In its response to the NAL, Wilson asserts that the agent requested
"issues lists" and that, in the owner's nervousness over the
inspection, he did not know that she wanted to see Issues/Programs
lists. The owner claims that if she had asked for Issues/Programs
lists, he would have produced them, as he had been compiling them
regularly. Moreover, while he states he admitted that the "issues
lists" were not in the public file, the station owner disputes that he
knowingly admitted to failing to maintain Issues/Programs lists.
7. According to the agent's contemporaneous notes of the inspection, the
agent requested to inspect the Three Stations' "Issues/Programs lists"
and referred to the Broadcast Self-Inspection Checklist, for more
information. However, assuming arguendo that the agent did ask for the
"issues lists," we do not find Wilson's assertions plausible. In
response to the agent's request, the stations' owner produced a file
that contained one document entitled "Issues/Programs" and dated March
2003. This document was in the same format as the Issues/Programs
lists that the stations' owner stated he compiled after March 2003 and
that were attached in the response to the NALs. During the inspection,
the agent asked if there were any other Issues/Programs lists besides
what was contained in the file, and the owner replied in the negative.
Because the owner was able to locate one Issues/Programs list, he
knew, or should have known, what the agent was seeking, even if she
had requested to inspect "issues lists." Moreover, because the
Issues/Programs list in the public inspection file looked the same as
the more recent lists submitted in response to the NALs, it is
unlikely that the station owner would have forgotten to say something
or produce them to the agent during the inspection. Given this and the
fact that Wilson failed to produce any evidence that the submitted
Issues/Programs lists were compiled prior to the inspection, we
conclude we cannot rely upon Wilson's assertions that it maintained
Issues/Programs lists after March 2003.
8. Based on the evidence before us, we find that Wilson willfully and
repeatedly violated Section 73.3526 of the Rules by failing to
maintain complete public inspection files.
9. Wilson also requests a reduction of the cumulative forfeiture, because
it asserts it was fined three times for essentially one violation. We
disagree. Wilson is required to maintain separate files for each of
the Three Stations. However, because the single file for all Three
Stations contained information specific to each station, e.g., copies
of each license, the Atlanta Office declined to propose forfeitures
for the failure to maintain three separate files. Each station,
however, is required to compile its own list that describes the
programming broadcasted by it that deals with local issues.
Accordingly, the Atlanta Office issued three separate NALs for failing
to maintain and make available any Issues/Programs lists after March
10. Finally, Wilson requests a reduction in the amount of the forfeiture,
citing several cases in which violators received forfeitures less than
$4,000 for missing Issues/Programs lists. The latest Notice of
Apparent Liability for these cases, however, was released on August
26, 2005. Recent cases have consistently assessed forfeitures of
$4,000 for missing two or more quarters of Issues/Programs lists.
Accordingly, we decline to reduce the forfeitures.
11. We have examined Wilson's response to the NALs pursuant to the
statutory factors above, and in conjunction with the Forfeiture Policy
Statement. As a result of our review, we conclude that Wilson
willfully and repeatedly violated Section 73.3526 of the Rules and
that no reduction of the proposed $12,000 forfeiture is warranted.
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES
12. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to Section 503(b) of the
Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and Sections 0.111, 0.311 and
1.80(f)(4) of the Commission's Rules, Wilson Broadcasting, Inc. IS
LIABLE FOR A MONETARY FORFEITURE in the amount of twelve thousand
dollars ($12,000) for violations of Section 73.3526 of the Rules.
13. 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. 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 Federal Communications Commission, P.O.
Box 358340, Pittsburgh, PA 15251-8340. Payment by overnight mail may
be sent to Mellon Bank /LB 358340, 500 Ross Street, Room 1540670,
Pittsburgh, PA 15251. Payment by wire transfer may be made to ABA
Number 043000261, receiving bank Mellon Bank, and account
number 911-6106. Requests for full payment under an installment plan
should be sent to: Associate Managing Director, Financial Operations,
445 12th Street, S.W., Room 1A625, Washington, D.C. 20554.
14. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a copy of this Order shall be sent by First
Class and Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested to Wilson
Broadcasting, Inc. at its address of record and to its counsel, Dan J.
Alpert, 2120 North 21^st Road, Arlington, VA 22201.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Dennis P. Carlton
Regional Director, South Central Region
47 C.F.R. S 73.3526.
Notices of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, NAL/Acct. No. 200732480004,
200732480005, and 200732480006 (Enf. Bur., Atlanta Office, February 13,
2007) ("NALs"). We consolidated the NALs into one Forfeiture Order,
because Wilson submitted one response to the NALs.
47 U.S.C. S 503(b).
47 C.F.R. S 1.80.
47 U.S.C. S 503(b)(2)(D).
47 C.F.R. S 73.3526(a)(2).
47 C.F.R. S 73.3526(c)(1).
47 C.F.R. S 73.3526(e)(12).
The Broadcast Self-Inspection Checklist has a check box for
"issues-programs listings." The station owner was familiar with this
checklist, as he had previously participated in the Alternate Broadcast
Moreover, it is undisputed that on January 23, 2007, Wilson failed to make
available any Issues/Programs lists after March 2003. This failure in
itself constitutes a violation of Section 73.3526 of the Rules, subject to
forfeiture. See, e.g., Fannin County Broadcasting, Notice of Apparent
Liability for Forfeiture, NAL/Acct. No. 200732480007 (Enf. Bur. Atlanta
Office, February 8, 2007).
Section 312(f)(1) of the Act, 47 U.S.C. S 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).
The term "repeated," when used with reference to the commission or
omission of any act, "means the commission or omission of such act more
than once or, if such commission or omission is continuous, for more than
one day." 47 U.S.C. S 312(f)(2).
See Gerald Parks, Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, NAL/Acct.
No. 200532360003 (Enf. Bur. Detroit Office, August 26, 2005).
See, e.g., Fannin County Broadcasting, Notice of Apparent Liability for
Forfeiture, NAL/Acct. No. 200732480007 (Enf. Bur. Atlanta Office, February
8, 2007), Community Broadcast Group, Notice of Apparent Liability for
Forfeiture, NAL/Acct. No. 200732500003 (Enf. Bur. Dallas Office, January
30, 2007), Cumulus Licensing, LLC, Notice of Apparent Liability for
Forfeiture, NAL/Acct. No. 20073270006 (Enf. Bur. Tampa Office, January 3,
2007), Multicultural Radio Broadcasting Licensee, Notice of Apparent
Liability for Forfeiture, NAL/Acct. No. 200732940003 (Enf. Bur. San Diego
Office, December 28, 2006), Access.1 NY License Company, LLC, Notice of
Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, NAL/Acct. No. 20073238000 (Enf. Bur.
New York Office, July 12, 2006).
47 U.S.C. SS 301, 503(b); 47 C.F.R. SSS 0.111, 0.311, 1.80(f)(4), 73.3526.
47 U.S.C. S 504(a).
See 47 C.F.R. S 1.1914.
Federal Communications Commission DA 07-1780
Federal Communications Commission DA 07-1780