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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of
Rama Communications, Inc.
Licensee of station WOKB File No. EB-08-TP-033
Winter Garden, FL 34787 NAL/Acct. No. 200932700002
Facility ID Number: 87164 FRN: 000-50080-16
Owner of Antenna Structure Numbers
1045401, 1045403 and 1045404
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Adopted: April 29, 2009 Released: April 30, 2009
By the Assistant Chief, Enforcement Bureau:
1. In this Memorandum Opinion and Order ("MO&O"), we grant in part and
deny in part the petition for reconsideration filed by Rama
Communications, Inc. ("Rama") of the Forfeiture Order issued December
9, 2008. The Forfeiture Order imposed a monetary forfeiture in the
amount of $25,000 for Rama's willful and repeated violations of
Sections 17.50, 73.49, 73.1745(a) and 73.3526 of the Commission's
Rules ("Rules"). The noted violations involved Rama's failure to clean
or repaint its antenna structures as often as necessary to maintain
good visibility, failure to enclose the antenna tower within an
effective locked fence or enclosure, operation at times with power
other than those specified in its the license, and failure to maintain
and make available a complete public inspection file.
2. On May 1, 2 and 8, 2008, agents from the Commission's Tampa Office of
the Enforcement Bureau ("Tampa Office"), monitored station WOKB's
transmissions before and after local sunset and observed no reduction
in the transmissions' field strength.
3. On May 3, 2008, agents from the Tampa Office drove to the WOKB
transmitter site in Ocoee, Florida and inspected the paint on antenna
structure numbers 1045401 and 1045403. According to the Antenna
Structure Registration ("ASR") database, "Rama Communications, Inc.
DBA = WOKB AM" is the owner of these structures. According to the ASR
database, these antenna structures are required to be painted and lit.
The agents observed that the paint on the structures was extremely
faded and had washed away completely in many areas, leaving the metal
exposed and reducing the
4. On May 9, 2008, agents from the Tampa Office, accompanied by the
station's operations manager, conducted an inspection of AM radio
station WOKB's transmitter and main studio location in Ocoee, Florida,
during normal business hours. WOKB was transmitting at the time of the
inspection. No meter readings were available from the WOKB
transmitter. There were no station logs available at the time of
inspection to indicate any problems with WOKB's transmitter.
5. On May 9, 2008, during normal business hours, agents from the Tampa
Office also requested to inspect the station's public inspection file.
Although the station maintained a public inspection file, the
Issues-Program Lists were not available. The station provided an
incomplete list for January, February, and March 2007. The list did
not include the time or duration of the program or a narrative
describing what issues were given significant treatment. The station
had no information in the public inspection file for any other
6. Still during the inspection on May 9, 2008, the agents from the Tampa
Office observed that the licensee was currently using only two of its
antenna structures, antenna structure numbers 1045402 and 1045404, in
its directional array. When the agents inspected antenna structure
number 1045404, they observed that the lock on the tower fence was in
place but the gate was not secured. The lock was placed in the wrong
position on the gate handle. The agents pulled on the door handle, and
it was able to be opened, thus providing the agents complete access to
the base of the tower. They found the door of the tower antenna feed
wire circuit box on the ground, which left the high voltage
transmitting equipment exposed. The weeds and vegetation were
overgrown at the base of the tower, indicating that it had been in
this condition for some time. The agents observed that there was no
perimeter property fence around the property. The agents also
inspected the paint on antenna structure numbers 1045401 and 1045403
and found it to be in the same condition as on May 3, 2008. The paint
on the structures was extremely faded and had left the metal exposed
reducing the towers' visibility.
7. On May 15, 2008, the agents from the Tampa Office re-inspected antenna
structure number 1045404 and found it to be in the same condition as
on May 9, 2008. The gate to the tower fence was still not secured,
because the lock was still placed in the wrong position on the gate
handle. The agents were still able to pull on the door handle to gain
complete access to the base of the tower. However, the tower antenna
feed wire circuit box was closed, and the grass and weeds were mowed.
8. On October 16, 2008, the Tampa Office issued a Notice of Apparent
Liability for Forfeiture to Rama in the amount of twenty five thousand
dollars ($25,000), for the apparent willful and repeated violation of
Sections 17.50, 73.49, 73.1745(a) and 73.3526 of the Rules. Rama
failed to submit a response to the NAL. On December 9, 2008, the
Bureau released a no response Forfeiture Order, imposing a $25,000
forfeiture. On January 12, 2009, Rama filed a petition for
reconsideration requesting reduction or cancellation of the
9. The forfeiture amount in this case was assessed in accordance with
Section 503(b) of the Act, 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. In examining
Rama'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.
10. A petition for reconsideration, which relies on facts not previously
presented to the designated authority, may be granted only if: (1) the
designated authority determines that consideration of the facts relied
on is required in the public interest; (2) the petition relies on
facts which relate to events which occurred or circumstances which
have changed since the last opportunity to present such matters; or
(3) the petition relies on facts unknown to petitioner until after his
last opportunity to present such matters. All of the information
presented in the petition for reconsideration was available and known
to Rama when it was provided an opportunity to respond to the NAL.
Moreover, Rama "does not dispute the alleged violations cited in the
Commission's NAL or Forfeiture Order released on December 9, 2008."
Accordingly, we deny in part Rama's petition for reconsideration.
11. In its petition for reconsideration, Rama claims that it did not
respond to the NAL, because it either did not receive it or confused
it with another Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture that it
received. The Tampa Office, however, received a return receipt signed
by Rama's owner for the NAL. Moreover, Rama failed to respond to its
other Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, which was dated
October 16, 2008. Rama claims that one of the inspections underlying
the violations at issue was also "partly the basis of the third NAL
issued ... for violations at station WLAA, Ocoee, FL." Although agents
from the Tampa Office inspected Rama-owned stations WOKB and WLAA on
the same day, the agents found separate violations for each station,
and each station is required to comply with the Rules. Rama also
states that it has since corrected all of the noted violations.
However, corrective action taken to come into compliance with the
Rules after an inspection is expected, and does not nullify or
mitigate any prior forfeitures or violations. Rama cites Surrey Front
Range Ltd. Partnership, 71 RR 2d 882 (FOB 1992) in support of its
request for reduction, based on its post-inspection corrective
actions. The proposed forfeiture in that case was reduced based on the
violator's history of compliance with the Rules. In the instant case,
Rama willfully and repeatedly violated the Rules and does not have a
history of compliance with the Rules, so we do not find the cited case
12. Finally, Rama requests a reduction of the forfeiture, based on its
inability to pay. Rama also states that it is already paying a
previous forfeiture in installments and that this additional
forfeiture would pose an even greater financial hardship. However, the
Commission has determined that, in general, an entity's gross revenues
are the best indicator of its ability to pay a forfeiture. We have
reviewed the financial documentation provided by Rama setting forth
its gross revenues and conclude that a reduction of the forfeiture to
$22,500 is warranted based on its inability to pay. Thus, we grant
Rama's petition for reconsideration in part, by reducing the
forfeiture to $22,500.
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES
13. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED, pursuant to Section 405 of the
Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and Section 1.106 of the
Commission's Rules, that the Petition for Reconsideration filed by
Rama Communications, Inc. IS GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART .
14. IT IS ALSO ORDERED that, pursuant to Section 503(b) of the Act, and
Sections 0.111, 0.311 and 1.80(f)(4) of the Rules, Rama
Communications, Inc. IS LIABLE FOR A MONETARY FORFEITURE in the amount
of twenty two thousand five hundred dollars ($22,500) for violation of
Sections 17.50, 73.49, 73.1745(a) and 73.3526 of the Rules.
15. 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/Account
Number and FRN Number referenced above. Payment by check or money
order may be mailed to Federal Communications Commission, P.O. Box
979088, St. Louis, MO 63197-9000. Payment by overnight mail may be
sent to U.S. Bank - Government Lockbox #979088, SL-MO-C2-GL, 1005
Convention Plaza, St. Louis, MO 63101. Payment by wire transfer may be
made to ABA Number 021030004, receiving bank TREAS/NYC, and account
number 27000001. For payment by credit card, an FCC Form 159
(Remittance Advice) must be submitted. When completing the FCC Form
159, enter the NAL/Account number in block number 23A (call sign/other
ID), and enter the letters "FORF" in block number 24A (payment type
code). Requests for full payment under an installment plan should be
sent to: Chief Financial Officer -- Financial Operations, 445 12th
Street, S.W., Room 1-A625, Washington, D.C. 20554. Please contact
the Financial Operations Group Help Desk at 1-877-480-3201 or Email:
ARINQUIRIES@fcc.gov with any questions regarding payment procedures.
Rama will also send electronic notification on the date said payment
is made to SCR-Response@fcc.gov.
16. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this Order shall be sent by regular mail
and by certified mail, return receipt requested, to Rama
Communications, Inc. at its address of record and to its counsel, Todd
A. Steiner, Law Offices of Putbrese, Hunsaker & Trent, P.C., 200 South
Church Street, Woodstock, VA 22664.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Assistant Chief, Enforcement Bureau
Rama Communications, Inc., Forfeiture Order, 23 FCC Rcd 17820 (Enf. Bur.
South Central Region, 2008) ("Forfeiture Order").
47 C.F.R. S:S: 17.50, 73.49, 73.1745(a), 73.3526.
Pursuant to Section 17.21 of the Rules, antenna structures shall be
painted and lighted when they exceed 60.96 meters in height above ground.
47 C.F.R. S: 17.21. Antenna structure numbers 1045401 and 1045403 are 88.7
meters in height above ground.
Rama Communications, Inc., Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture,
NAL/Acct. No. 200932700002 (Enf. Bur., Tampa Office, October 16, 2008)
47 U.S.C. S: 503(b).
47 C.F.R. S: 1.80.
12 FCC Rcd 17087 (1997), recon. denied, 15 FCC Rcd 303 (1999).
47 U.S.C. S: 503(b)(2)(E).
47 C.F.R. S: 1.106(c).
See Rama petition for reconsideration at 2.
See Rama Communications, Inc., Memorandum Opinion and Order, 23 FCC Rcd
18209 (Enf. Bur., 2008).
See Rama petition for reconsideration at 2. See also Rama Communications,
Inc., Memorandum Opinion and Order, 23 FCC Rcd 18209 (Enf. Bur., 2008).
See e.g., Syntax-Brillian Corporation, Forfeiture Order and Notice of
Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, 23 FCC Rcd 6323 (2008); AT&T Wireless
Services, Inc., Forfeiture Order, 17 FCC Rcd 21866 (2002); Seawest Yacht
Brokers, Forfeiture Order, 9 FCC Rcd 6099 (1994).
See PJB Communications of Virginia, Inc., Memorandum Opinion and Order, 7
FCC Rcd 2088, 2089 (1992) (forfeiture not deemed excessive where it
represented approximately 2.02 percent of the violator's gross revenues);
Local Long Distance, Inc., Forfeiture Order, 15 FCC Rcd 24385 (2000)
(forfeiture not deemed excessive where it represented approximately 7.9
percent of the violator's gross revenues); Hoosier Broadcasting
Corporation, Memorandum Opinion and Order, 15 FCC Rcd 8640 (2002)
(forfeiture not deemed excessive where it represented approximately 7.6
percent of the violator's gross revenues).
47 U.S.C. S: 405.
47 C.F.R. S: 1.106.
47 C.F.R. S:S: 0.111, 0.311, 1.80(f)(4), 11.35(a), 73.3526.
47 U.S.C. S: 504(a).
Federal Communications Commission DA 09-936
Federal Communications Commission DA 09-936