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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of
Media East, LLC File Number: EB-10-NF-0021
Licensee of Station WLGT (AM) NAL/Acct. No.: 201132640001
Washington, North Carolina FRN: 7636145
Facility ID # 48399
Adopted: May 23, 2011 Released: May 24, 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 Media East, LLC,
("Media East"), licensee of Station WLGT(AM), in Washington, North
Carolina ("Media East"), for willful violation of section 73.3526 of
the Commission's rules ("Rules"). The noted violation involves Media
East's failure to make available a complete public inspection file.
2. As discussed in detail in the Notice of Apparent Liability ("NAL") in
this case, on March 9, 2010, in response to a request by an agent of
the Enforcement Bureau's Norfolk Office ("Norfolk Office") to inspect
Station WLGT's public inspection file at the station's main studio in
New Bern, North Carolina during regular business hours, Media East was
unable to produce any public inspection file documents dated after
2006. Station WLGT's station manager told the agent that the current
public inspection file documents were probably kept at Media East's
headquarters in Statesville, North Carolina.
3. In view of the record evidence, the NAL proposed a forfeiture of
$10,000 against the licensee for violation of section 73.3526 of the
Rules. Media East submitted a response to the NAL denying that its
public inspection file was incomplete and requesting cancellation of
the proposed forfeiture.
4. 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 Media East'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 Media East's response
in light of these statutory factors and impose a $10,000 forfeiture.
5. Section 73.3526 of the Rules states that "[e]very permittee or
licensee of an AM, FM, TV or a Class A station in the commercial
broadcast services shall maintain a public inspection file containing
the material" set forth in this section. For example, commercial AM
and FM broadcast stations must include every three months a list of
programs that have provided the station's most significant treatment
of community issues during the preceding three-month period. The
public inspection file must be maintained at the station's main
studio, and must be available for public inspection at any time during
regular business hours.
6. After the station's general manager arrived during the March 9, 2010
inspection, the agent from the Norfolk Office asked for the most
recent station authorization, ownership report and issues/programs
lists. The station's general manager and secretary were unable to
produce the station renewal, ownership report, or any issues/programs
lists dated after 2006. When the agent reviewed the station's
issues/programs lists, he asked whether they had anything after 2006.
Neither the general manager nor the secretary was able to produce any
issues/programs lists after 2006, and the general manager stated that
the missing items were probably kept in Statesville.
7. In a declaration attached to Media East's NAL Response, Media East's
general manager states under penalty of perjury that: (1) he was
present during the entire inspection on March 9, 2010; (2) that he
provided all "public affairs listings" to the agent; (3) the statement
that the station was unable to produce any documents after 2006 is
"not true;" (4) he told the agent that items before 2006 were probably
kept in the Statesville office; and (5) a complete public inspection
file was kept at the New Bern main studio.
8. According to the agent's handwritten notes taken contemporaneous to
the March 9, 2010 inspection and the agent's recollections of the
inspection, Media East failed to make available any post-2006
documents during the inspection. Although the general manager claims
that he provided "all public affairs listings" to the agent, we do not
find this self-serving after-the-fact recollection to be credible,
particularly in light of other inconsistencies. For example, the
agent's contemporaneous notes state that the inspection began with the
assistance of the station's secretary. After the secretary was unable
to locate the complete public inspection file, the general manager was
called and did not arrive for approximately 30 minutes. Yet, as noted
above, the general manager claims that he was present for the entire
station inspection. Accordingly, we reject the general manager's
claims and find that the preponderance of the evidence supports the
Norfolk Office agent's description, namely that on that day, in
response to a request made at the station's main studio during normal
business hours, Media East was unable to produce any public inspection
file documents dated after 2006. Therefore, based on the evidence
before us, we find that Media East willfully violated section 73.3526
of the Rules by failing to make available a complete public inspection
file. Accordingly, we deny Media East's request for cancellation of
the proposed $10,000 forfeiture.
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES
9. 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 and 1.80(f)(4) of the Commission's Rules, Media East, LLC IS
LIABLE FOR A MONETARY FORFEITURE in the amount of ten thousand dollars
($10,000) for violation of section 73.3526 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. 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.
Media East will also send electronic notification on the date said
payment is made to SCR-Response@fcc.gov.
11. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a copy of this Order shall be sent by both
First Class and Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested to Media East,
LLC at 233 Middle St., Suite 207, New Bern, NC 28560 and to its
counsel, Peter Guttman, Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, PLLC, 1401 I
Street NW, 7th Floor, Washington, DC 20005.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Dennis P. Carlton
Regional Director, South Central Region
47 C.F.R. S: 73.3526.
Media East, LLC, Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, DA 11-231
(Enf. Bur. rel. Feb. 10, 2011).
See Letter from Peter Guttman, Attorney for Media East, LLC, to Norfolk
Office, Enforcement Bureau (March 11, 2011) ("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 C.F.R. S: 73.3526(a)(2).
47 C.F.R. S: 73.3526(e)(12).
47 C.F.R. S: 73.3526(b).
47 C.F.R. S: 73.3526(c).
The agent from the Norfolk Office told the general manager that he could
fax the most recent issues programs lists to the Norfolk Office when
obtained from the Statesville office. The general manager never did so.
See Statement under Penalty of Perjury of Wesley Hines, attachment to NAL
Response. Media East also provided a statement by the President of Connor
Media Corporation, the sole member of Media East, LLC, that there
currently is a complete public inspection file at the main studio of
Station WLGT in New Bern.
Because we find that Media East willfully failed to make the public
inspection file available, we need not address its claim that 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, 1.80(f)(4),
47 U.S.C. S: 504(a).
Federal Communications Commission DA 11-938
Federal Communications Commission DA 11-938