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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of )
Taylor Communications, Inc. )
Licensee WOXD-FM ) File No.: EB-08-OR-0212
Oxford, Mississippi ) NAL/Acct. No.: 200932620003
Facility ID: 1299 ) FRN: 0005002852
Owner of Antenna Structure Number )
Adopted: September 12, 2011 Released: September 12, 2011
By the Regional Director, South Central Region, Enforcement Bureau:
1. In this Forfeiture Order ("Order"), we issue a monetary forfeiture in
the amount of ten thousand dollars ($10,000) to Taylor Communications,
Inc. ("Taylor"), licensee of Station WOXD-FM, in Oxford, Mississippi
and owner of antenna structure number 1038246, for willful and
repeated violation of section 17.48(a) of the Commission's rules
("Rules") and willful violation of section 73.3526 of the Rules. The
noted violations involve Taylor's failure to inform the Federal
Aviation Administration ("FAA") of a malfunction of the antenna
structure lighting and its failure to make available a public
2. On September 25, 2008, in response to a complaint alleging violations
concerning antenna structure number 1038246, agents from the
Enforcement Bureau's New Orleans Office ("New Orleans Office")
conducted an inspection of Taylor's antenna structure located at
coordinates N34DEG 18' 10" x W089DEG 31' 25". The antenna structure is
328 feet in height above ground level and is required to be painted
and lit. Agents from the New Orleans Office observed the antenna
structure 90 minutes after sunset and found that none of the red
obstruction lights were working.
3. On September 26, 2008, agents from the New Orleans Office, accompanied
by Station WOXD-FM's chief engineer and president, inspected Station
WOXD-FM's main studio during normal business hours. The agents
requested to inspect the station's public inspection file, but the
station was unable to locate it. During the inspection, Station WOXD's
president alleged that the public inspection file was not available
because it had been stolen by a former employee. In addition, the
station's chief engineer admitted that he had known that the lights on
antenna structure number 1038246 had been out since the antenna
structure was struck by lightning approximately six weeks before the
inspection. The chief engineer stated that he believed it was
unnecessary to report the outage to the FAA because a nearby taller
antenna structure was lit. The agents from the New Orleans Office
informed the chief engineer and president that they should notify the
FAA immediately of the outage. Station WOXD's president stated that he
had already paid for the tower lighting repairs and ordered
4. On November 21, 2008, the New Orleans Office issued a Notice of
Apparent Liability for Forfeiture ("NAL") in the amount of $13,000 to
Taylor -- $3,000 for the apparent violation of the Commission's tower
rules and $10,000 for the apparent violation of the Commission's
public inspection file requirements. On December 19, 2008, Taylor
submitted a response to the NAL requesting cancellation or reduction
of the forfeiture.
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"), section 1.80 of the Rules, and the Forfeiture Policy
Statement. In examining Taylor'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. As discussed below, we have considered Taylor's response in
light of these statutory factors and reduce the forfeiture to $10,000
based on Taylor's history of compliance and good-faith efforts to
comply with the rules.
6. Section 312(f)(1) of the Act defines willful as "the conscious and
deliberate commission or omission of [any] act, irrespective of any
intent to violate" the law. The legislative history to section
312(f)(1) of the Act clarifies that this definition of willful applies
to both sections 312 and 503(b) of the Act and the Commission has so
interpreted the term in the section 503(b) context. The Commission may
also assess a forfeiture for violations that are merely repeated, and
not willful. "Repeated" means that the act was committed or omitted
more than once, or lasts more than one day.
7. Section 17.48(a) of the Rules states that "[t]he owner of any antenna
structure which is registered ... [s]hall report immediately by
telephone or telegraph to the nearest Flight Service Station or office
of the Federal Aviation Administration any observed or otherwise known
extinguishment or improper functioning of any top steady burning light
or any flashing obstruction light, regardless of its position on the
antenna structure, not corrected within 30 minutes." Antenna structure
number 1038246 is registered with the Commission and must be painted
and lit. Taylor does not dispute that the red obstruction lighting on
antenna structure number 1038246 was unlit for several weeks prior to
the September 26, 2008 inspection, that it knew about the outage, and
that it did not contact the FAA about the outage prior to September
26, 2008. Therefore, based on the evidence before us, we find that
Taylor willfully and repeatedly violated section 17.48(a) of the Rules
by failing to report immediately a malfunctioning light that could not
be corrected within 30 minutes to the FAA.
8. However, we agree with Taylor that the proposed forfeiture for this
violation should be reduced based on its good-faith efforts to comply
with the rules. Taylor states it called the published local number for
the FAA about the outage prior to the inspection, but that number was
not in service. Taylor also points out that, during the inspection,
the agent from the New Orleans Office had no local number for the FAA
other than the same non-working one. Because Taylor attempted to
notify the FAA prior to the inspection, we reduce the forfeiture
associated with this violation from $3,000 to $2,500 based on Taylor's
good faith efforts to comply.
9. Section 73.3526(a)(2) of the Rules requires broadcast stations to
maintain a public inspection file containing certain materials.
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. Taylor's president admits that Station WOXD's public inspection
file was not available for inspection on September 26, 2008, but
denies knowing that the public inspection file was missing prior to
the inspection. Taylor claims, unbeknownst to it, the former station
manager maintained keys to the station after his firing in July 2008,
embezzled station funds, and removed documents and files (including
the public inspection file) from the station. Although Taylor
submitted a criminal affidavit against its former station manager, and
the former station manager was arrested for embezzlement, the charges
were dropped and there was no formal finding of guilt. Moreover, the
former station manager submitted an affidavit to the court
specifically denying that he "discarded, concealed or otherwise
tampered with" Taylor's public inspection file. Indeed, the former
station manager alleged that "following the renovations and cleaning
[of the interior of the station in the spring of 2008], the FCC Public
Inspection file could not be located." Whether the public inspection
file was lost, misplaced, or stolen, the fact remains that the public
inspection file was not available for inspection on September 26,
2008, and the "Commission has long held that licensees and other
Commission regulatees are responsible for the acts and omissions of
their employees and independent contractors." Therefore, based on the
evidence before us, we find that Taylor willfully failed to make
available a public inspection file and do not find grounds to cancel
or reduce the $10,000 forfeiture associated with this violation based
on Taylor's claim of theft.
10. Finally, Taylor requests a reduction of the forfeiture because it has
not received a prior violation during its thirteen-year history. We
have examined the record and agree. Accordingly, we further reduce the
total forfeiture from $12,500 to $10,000 based on Taylor's history of
compliance with the Rules.
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES
11. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to section 503(b) of the
Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and sections 0.111, 0.204,
0.311, 0.314, and 1.80(f)(4) of the Commission's rules, Taylor
Communications, Inc. IS LIABLE FOR A MONETARY FORFEITURE in the amount
of ten thousand dollars ($10,000) for violations of sections 17.48(a)
and 73.3526 of the Commission's rules.
12. 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 enforcement 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.
Taylor will also send electronic notification on the date said payment
is made to SCR-Response@fcc.gov.
13. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a copy of this Order shall be sent by First
Class and Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested, to Taylor
Communications, Inc. at 302 Highway 7, South, Oxford, MS 38655 and to
John C. Trent, its counsel at 200 South Church Street, Woodstock, VA
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Dennis P. Carlton
Regional Director, South Central Region
47 C.F.R. S:S: 17.48(a), 73.3526.
See Antenna Structure Registration Database, Registration Number 1038246.
See also 47 C.F.R. S: 17.21 (generally requiring towers exceeding 200 feet
in height to be painted and lit).
Local sunset time was 7:15 p.m. CDT.
Taylor Communications, Inc., Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture,
NAL/Acct. No. 200932620003 (Enf. Bur., New Orleans Office, rel. Nov. 21,
2008) ("NAL") (citing 47 C.F.R. S:S:17.48(a), 73.3526(a)(2),
Letter from Todd A. Steiner, Esq., Counsel for Taylor Communications,
Inc., to Leroy Hall, District Director, New Orleans Office (dated Dec. 19,
2008) ("NAL Response").
47 U.S.C. S: 503(b).
47 C.F.R. S: 1.80.
The Commission's Forfeiture Policy Statement and Amendment of Section 1.80
of the Rules to Incorporate the Forfeiture Guidelines, Report and Order,
12 FCC Rcd 17087 (1997), recon. denied, 15 FCC Rcd 303 (1999) ("Forfeiture
47 U.S.C. S: 503(b)(2)(E).
47 U.S.C. S: 312(f)(1).
H.R. Conf. Rep. No. 97-765, at 51 (1982) ("This provision [inserted in
section 312] defines the terms `willful' and `repeated' for purposes of
section 312, and for any other relevant section of the act (e.g., section
503) . . . . As defined[,] . . . `willful' means that the licensee knew
that he was doing the act in question, regardless of whether there was an
intent to violate the law. `Repeated' means more than once, or where the
act is continuous, for more than one day. Whether an act is considered to
be `continuous' would depend upon the circumstances in each case. The
definitions are intended primarily to clarify the language in sections 312
and 503, and are consistent with the Commission's application of those
terms . . . .").
See, e.g., Southern California Broadcasting Co., Memorandum Opinion and
Order, 6 FCC Rcd 4387, 4388 (1991), recon. denied, 7 FCC Rcd 3454 (1992)
("Southern California Broadcasting Co.").
See, e.g., Callais Cablevision, Inc., Notice of Apparent Liability for
Monetary Forfeiture, 16 FCC Rcd 1359, 1362 P: 10 (2001) ("Callais
Cablevision, Inc.") (proposing a forfeiture for, inter alia, a cable
television operator's repeated signal leakage).
Southern California Broadcasting Co., 6 FCC Rcd at 4388, P: 5; Callais
Cablevision, Inc., 16 FCC Rcd at 1362, P: 9.
47 C.F.R. S: 17.48(a).
See Antenna Structure Registration 1038246.
See NAL Response at 3.
Id. at 2-3. Taylor submitted a declaration under penalty of perjury signed
by Taylor's President supporting its statements.
The agent subsequently found a working number by contacting the main FAA
contact number listed on its webpage.
Unsuccessful attempts at compliance taken prior to an inspection have been
considered sufficient to warrant good faith reductions. See, e.g., Sutro
Broadcasting Corporation, Memorandum Opinion and Order, 19 FCC Rcd 15274,
15277 (2004) (stating that the Commission will generally reduce the
assessed forfeiture amount "based on the good faith corrective efforts of
a violator when those actions were taken prior to Commission notification
of the violation") (emphasis added); see also Starfish Television Network,
Forfeiture Order, 24 FCC Rcd 9147 (Enf. Bur. 2009) (providing good faith
reduction as to party's unlicensed operation because operator submitted
license application information to a consultant prior to inspection);
Blountstown Communications, Inc., Memorandum Opinion and Order, 22 FCC Rcd
1097 (Enf. Bur. 2007) (provided good faith reduction as to fencing
violation because licensee was in the process of employing an expert fence
installer prior to the FCC inspection).
47 C.F.R. S: 73.3526(a)(2).
47 C.F.R. S: 73.3526(c)(1).
See NAL Response at 5. Taylor's president admits he knew that certain
documents and files were removed from the station, but asserts he did not
know that the public inspection file was among the stolen documents until
See id. at Declaration of Jason T. Plunk, President of Taylor.
See Arrest Affidavit of Jason T. Plunk dated September 29, 2008.
See Affidavit of Ronald C. Cox dated April 4, 2011.
Eure Family Limited Partnership, Memorandum Opinion and Order, 17 FCC Rcd
21861, 21863,-64, para. 7 (2002); MTD, Inc., Memorandum Opinion and Order,
6 FCC Rcd 34 (1991)(holding that a company's reliance on an independent
contractor to construct a tower in compliance of FCC rules does not excuse
that company from a forfeiture); Wagenvoord Broadcasting Co., Memorandum
Opinion and Order, 35 FCC 2d 361 (1972) (holding a licensee responsible
for violations of FCC rules despite its reliance on a consulting
engineer); Petracom of Joplin, L.L.C., Forfeiture Order, 19 FCC Rcd 6248
(Enf. Bur. 2004) (holding a licensee liable for its employee's failure to
conduct weekly EAS tests and to maintain the "issues/programs" list).
Because we find that Taylor willfully failed to make the public inspection
file available, we need not address whether a complete public inspection
file was maintained at the main studio.
47 U.S.C. S: 503(b); 47 C.F.R. S:S:S: 0.111, 0.204, 0.311, 0.314,
1.80(f)(4), 17.48(a), 73.3526.
47 U.S.C. S: 504(a).
Federal Communications Commission DA 11-1528
Federal Communications Commission DA 11-1528