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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of Jeannine M. Mason Licensee of Station KTZZ(FM), Conrad,
Montana ) ) ) ) ) ) ) File No.: EB-FIELDWR-12-00004903 NAL/Acct. No.:
201332800007 FRN: 0022857825 Facility ID No.: 81886
NOTICE OF APPARENT LIABILITY FOR FORFEITURE
Adopted: July 23, 2013 Released: July 24, 2013
By the District Director, Denver Office, Western Region, Enforcement
1. In this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL), we find
that Jeannine M. Mason, licensee of Station KTZZ(FM), in Conrad,
Montana (Station or KTZZ(FM)), apparently willfully and repeatedly
violated Section 301 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended
(Act),^ by operating a studio-transmitter link (STL) station without
an FCC license. We conclude that Ms. Mason is apparently liable for a
forfeiture in the amount of ten thousand dollars ($10,000).
2. On August 10, 2012, an agent from the Enforcement Bureau's Denver
Office (Denver Office), in preparation for a routine inspection of
KTZZ(FM), monitored the signal of an STL station on frequency 946.5
MHz, which, at that time, appeared associated with KTZZ(FM). The agent
determined that the STL station was transmitting KTZZ(FM)'s audio,
including its call sign, and that the STL station's transmissions were
originating from KTZZ(FM)'s main studio located at 3313 15^th Street,
NE, in Black Eagle, Montana. A subsequent search of the Commission's
records, however, revealed that there was no license authorization for
an STL station to operate from this location on frequency 946.5 MHz.
3. On September 5, 2012, the Denver agent spoke with KTZZ(FM)'s manager
by phone, and informed him that the Station's audio was heard on an
unlicensed STL station operating on frequency 946.5 MHz from the
Station's main studio location. During the call, the manager
acknowledged that KTZZ(FM) was operating an STL station on frequency
946.5 MHz. The following day, on September 6, 2012, the manager
contacted the agent by phone, acknowledged that they had no license
for the STL station, and advised that operation of the STL station
discontinued that morning. On September 17, 2012, a Denver agent
performed a follow-up inspection and confirmed that the operation of
the STL station had ceased.
4. On December 3, 2012, the Denver Office issued a Notice of Violation
(NOV) to Ms. Mason for the unlicensed operation.^ In the NOV
Response,^ Ms. Mason did not deny the violation; she explained that
Station KTZZ(FM) had operated "an STL transmitter on 946.5 MHz to
carry program audio from the studio to the transmitter[,]" that "[i]t
was placed in service in the summer of 2011" and was "immediately
turn[ed] off" upon notification, pending "appropriate licensing."^
5. Section 503(b) of the Act provides that any person who willfully or
repeatedly fails to comply substantially with the terms and conditions
of any license, or willfully or repeatedly fails to comply with any of
the provisions of the Act or of any rule, regulation, or order issued
by the Commission thereunder, shall be liable for a forfeiture
penalty.^ 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.^ The term "repeated" means
the commission or omission of such act more than once or for more than
A. Operation of an Unlicensed Studio-Transmitter Link
6. The evidence in this case establishes that Ms. Mason, licensee of
Station KTZZ(FM), violated Section 301 of the Act. Section 301 of the
Act requires that "[n]o person shall use or operate any apparatus for
the transmission of energy or communications or signals by radio . . .
except under and in accordance with this Act and with a license in
that behalf granted under the provisions of this Act."^ As the record
shows, the Denver Office agent found on August 10, 2012, that KTZZ(FM)
was operating the unlicensed STL station on frequency 946.5 MHz, and
that a few weeks later, on September 6, 2012, KTZZ(FM)'s manager
acknowledged to the agent that they had no license for the STL
station. Furthermore, Ms. Mason, in her NOV Response, acknowledged the
unlicensed operation of the STL station since 2011. Therefore, we find
that Ms. Mason apparently willfully and repeatedly violated Section
301 of the Act by operating an STL station without a license.
B. Proposed Forfeiture
7. Pursuant to the Commission's Forfeiture Policy Statement and Section
1.80 of the Rules, the base forfeiture amount for operation without an
instrument of authorization is $10,000.^ In assessing the monetary
forfeiture amount, we must also take into account the statutory
factors set forth in Section 503(b)(2)(E) of the Act, which include
the nature, circumstances, extent, and gravity of the violations, 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.^ Applying the Forfeiture Policy Statement, Section 1.80
of the Rules, and the statutory factors to the instant case, we
conclude that Jeannine M. Mason is apparently liable for a total
forfeiture in the amount of $10,000.
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES
8. 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 of the Commission's rules, Jeannine M. Mason is
hereby NOTIFIED of this APPARENT LIABILITY FOR A FORFEITURE in the
amount of ten thousand dollars ($10,000) for violation of Section 301
of the Act.^
9. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, pursuant to Section 1.80 of the
Commission's rules, within thirty (30) calendar days of the release
date of this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, Jeannine M.
Mason SHALL PAY the full amount of the proposed forfeiture or SHALL
FILE a written statement seeking reduction or cancellation of the
10. Payment of the forfeiture must be made by check or similar instrument,
wire transfer, or credit card, and must include the NAL/Account number
and FRN referenced above. Jeannine M. Mason shall also send electronic
notification on the date said payment is made to WR-Response@fcc.gov.
Regardless of the form of payment, a completed FCC Form 159
(Remittance Advice) must be submitted.^ When completing the FCC Form
159, enter the Account Number in block number 23A (call sign/other ID)
and enter the letters "FORF" in block number 24A (payment type
code). Below are additional instructions you should follow based on
the form of payment you select:
* Payment by check or money order must be made payable to the order of
the Federal Communications Commission. Such payments (along with the
completed Form 159) must be mailed to Federal Communications
Commission, P.O. Box 979088, St. Louis, MO 63197-9000, or sent
via overnight mail to U.S. Bank - Government Lockbox #979088,
SL-MO-C2-GL, 1005 Convention Plaza, St. Louis, MO 63101.
* Payment by wire transfer must be made to ABA Number 021030004,
receiving bank TREAS/NYC, and Account Number 27000001. To complete
the wire transfer and ensure appropriate crediting of the wired funds,
a completed Form 159 must be faxed to U.S. Bank at (314) 418-4232 on
the same business day the wire transfer is initiated.
* Payment by credit card must be made by providing the required credit
card information on FCC Form 159 and signing and dating the Form 159
to authorize the credit card payment. The completed Form 159 must then
be mailed to Federal Communications Commission, P.O. Box 979088, St.
Louis, MO 63197-9000, or sent via overnight mail to U.S. Bank -
Government Lockbox #979088, SL-MO-C2-GL, 1005 Convention Plaza, St.
Louis, MO 63101.
11. Any request for making full payment over time under an installment
plan should be sent to: Chief Financial Officer--Financial
Operations, Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street, S.W.,
Room 1-A625, Washington, D.C. 20554.^ If you have questions
regarding payment procedures, please contact the Financial Operations
Group Help Desk by phone, 1-877-480-3201, or by e-mail,
12. The written statement seeking reduction or cancellation of the
proposed forfeiture, if any, must include a detailed factual statement
supported by appropriate documentation and affidavits pursuant to
Sections 1.16 and 1.80(f)(3) of the Rules.^ Mail the written statement
to Federal Communications Commission, Enforcement Bureau, Western
Region, Denver Office, 215 S. Wadsworth Blvd., Suite 303, Lakewood,
Colorado, 80226, and include the NAL/Acct. No. referenced in the
caption. Jeannine M. Mason also shall e-mail the written response to
13. The Commission will not consider reducing or canceling a forfeiture in
response to a claim of inability to pay unless the petitioner submits:
(1) federal tax returns for the most recent three-year period; (2)
financial statements prepared according to generally accepted
accounting principles (GAAP); or (3) some other reliable and objective
documentation that accurately reflects the petitioner's current
financial status. Any claim of inability to pay must specifically
identify the basis for the claim by reference to the financial
14. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a copy of this Notice of Apparent Liability
for Forfeiture shall be sent by both Certified Mail, Return Receipt
Requested, and first class mail to Jeannine M. Mason, at her address
of record, and to her counsel, Steven T. Potts, PLLC, 625 Central
Avenue West, Suite 200, Great Falls, MT 59404-2874.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Nikki P. Shears
^ 47 U.S.C. S 301.
^ See Jeannine M. Mason, Notice of Violation, V201332800024 (Dec. 3, 2012)
^ See Response to Notice of Violation of Jeannine M. Mason (Jan. 4,
2013) (on file in EB-FIELDWR-12-00004903) (NOV Response).
^ Id. at 2. Ms. Mason stated that the STL station was immediately turned
off in September 2012 when she was advised that it was unlicensed, and
that an application was started for frequency coordination and appropriate
licensing of the STL station. Id. Station KTZZ switched to utilization of
a phone line for transmission of the audio from the studio to the
transmitter. Ms. Mason also provided a photograph of the STL transmitter's
FCC certification, which indicated that the STL station was also capable
of transmitting on frequency 950.375 MHz. See id. at Exhibit B. We note
that, as of the date of this NAL, a review of the FCC's Universal
Licensing System database shows no licenses or applications for an STL
station to operate on either 946.5 or 950.375 MHz in the state of Montana.
^ 47 U.S.C. S 503(b).
^ 47 U.S.C. S 312(f)(1).
^ H.R. Rep. No. 97-765, 97^th Cong. 2d Sess. 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), recons. denied, 7 FCC Rcd 3454 (1992).
^ See, e.g., Callais Cablevision, Inc., Notice of Apparent Liability for
Monetary Forfeiture, 16 FCC Rcd 1359, 1362, para. 10 (2001) (Callais
Cablevision, Inc.) (proposing a forfeiture for, inter alia, a cable
television operator's repeated signal leakage).
^ Section 312(f)(2) of the Act, 47 U.S.C. S 312(f)(2), which also applies
to violations for which forfeitures are assessed under Section 503(b) of
the Act, provides that "[t]he 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." See Callais Cablevision, Inc., 16 FCC Rcd at
^ 47 U.S.C. S 301.
^ 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) (Forfeiture Policy Statement), recons.
denied, 15 FCC Rcd 303 (1999); 47 C.F.R. S 1.80.
^ 47 U.S.C. S 503(b)(2)(E).
^ 47 U.S.C. S S 301, 503(b); 47 C.F.R. SS 0.111, 0.204, 0.311, 0.314,
^ An FCC Form 159 and detailed instructions for completing the form may be
obtained at http://www.fcc.gov/Forms/Form159/159.pdf.
^ See 47 C.F.R. S 1.1914.
^ 47 C.F.R. SS 1.16, 1.80(f)(3).
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Federal Communications Commission DA 13-1579
Federal Communications Commission DA 13-1579