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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of Steckline Communications, Inc. Licensee of Station KGSO
Wichita, Kansas ) ) ) ) ) ) ) File No.: EB-FIELDSCR-12-00005157 NAL/Acct.
No.: 201432560001 FRN: 0009951286 Facility ID: 53150
NOTICE OF APPARENT LIABILITY FOR FORFEITURE AND ORDER
Adopted: October 23, 2014 Released: October 24, 2013
By the District Director, Kansas City Office, South Central Region,
1. In this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture and Order (NAL),
we find that Steckline Communications, Inc. (Steckline), licensee of
AM Station KGSO (Station), in Wichita, Kansas, apparently willfully
and repeatedly violated Sections 73.62, 73.1560(a), 73.1745(a), and
73.3526 of the Commission's rules (Rules)^ by failing to maintain
required directional patterns within prescribed parameters, operating
with more than authorized power, and failing to maintain and make
available a complete public inspection file. We conclude that
Steckline is apparently liable for a forfeiture in the amount of
twenty one thousand dollars ($21,000). In addition, we direct
Steckline to submit, no later than thirty (30) calendar days from the
date of this NAL, a statement signed under penalty of perjury stating
that it is operating its Station as authorized.
2. Station KGSO is authorized to operate with 5400 watts during the day
and 1081 watts at night.^ It is also required to utilize different
directional patterns for its antenna during the day and night.^ On
October 21 and 22, 2012, in response to an anonymous complaint of
overpower operations, an agent from the Enforcement Bureau's Kansas
City Office (Kansas City Office) monitored the field strength of
Station KGSO's transmissions before and after sunset and before and
after sunrise.^ The agent observed no noticeable change in field
strength on either day.
3. On October 22, 2012, an agent from the Kansas City Office, accompanied
by Steckline's owner and the Station's manager, inspected the main
studio and transmitter site of Station KGSO during regular business
hours. At the beginning of the inspection, the agent observed that
Station KGSO's transmitter was set to operate in daytime mode with
7638 watts output power or 141 percent of authorized daytime power.
During the inspection, the Station owner reduced Station KGSO's
daytime transmitter output power to the authorized 5400 watts. In
addition, when testing the Station's transmitters in day and nighttime
modes, the agent observed that some of the phases of the directional
antenna in daytime mode deviated by more than 3 degrees and some of
the sample current ratios for both modes of operation deviated by more
than five percent from authorized values. Station management stated
that the antenna monitor was not working properly and was last known
to be functional in May 2012. Station KGSO relied on automated
switching and monitoring equipment for its transmitting system and did
not have an operator on duty to make adjustments to the transmitting
systems. However, no alarms occurred during the inspection when the
transmitter power and directional parameters were out of tolerance.
After sunset on October 22, 2012, the agent monitored the field
strength of Station KGSO's transmissions and observed a noted decrease
in signal strength from the previous measurements.
4. Also during that inspection, the agent from the Kansas City Office
asked to inspect Station KGSO's public inspection file. The agent
observed that none of the documents that the Station called "issues
programs lists" contained any information regarding the programs aired
to address the listed community issues and that the Station had not
filed any "issues programs lists" at all for the 3^rd quarter of 2012.
5. On November 8, 2012, the Kansas City Office issued a Notice of
Violation (NOV) to Steckline, regarding, among other things, Station
KGSO's overpower operations, its failure to take antenna monitoring
point readings, and public inspection file violations.^ On November
27, 2012, Steckline responded to the NOV and did not deny the
overpower or public inspection file violations.^ Steckline explained
that its engineer confused Station KGSO with another Steckline-owned
station, Station KQAM, and improperly programmed Station KGSO with
Station KQAM's higher daytime operating power. Steckline noted that
Station KGSO used to be assigned call sign KQAM. Steckline also stated
that it determined after the inspection that the memory in its
automated switching and monitoring unit had been "tampered with and
wiped out,"^ which prevented it from automatically switching the
transmitter from day to nighttime operation and from sending out
alarms when the Station operated out of tolerance.^ Steckline stated
that when this defect was discovered, it began manually changing
between day and nighttime operation and reprogrammed the unit within
48 hours. Finally, Steckline stated that it was unaware of the
requirement to include lists of the programs aired, as well as the
dates and times associated with those programs, in its issues programs
lists and that it had added such information to its current and
previous issues programs lists. Steckline did, however, deny that its
antenna monitor was malfunctioning and asserted an engineer had
checked the antenna monitor and found it working.
6. Section 503(b) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (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 one day.^
A. Failure to Operate within the Parameters of the Licenses
7. Section 73.1745(a) of the Rules states that "[n]o broadcast station
shall operate at times, or with modes or power, other than those
specified and made a part of the license, unless otherwise provided in
i. Operation with more than authorized power and incorrect mode
8. Section 73.1560(a) of the Rules states that "the antenna input power
of an AM station . . . must be maintained as near as is practicable to
the authorized antenna input power and may not be less than 90% nor
more than 105% of the authorized power."^ Station KGSO is authorized
to operate with 5400 watts during the day and 1081 watts at night.
Because Station KGSO's automated switching equipment was not
functioning and was unable to switch from day to nighttime operations
without manual intervention, Station KGSO operated with 7638 watts or
707 percent of authorized nighttime power in daytime mode on the
evening of October 21, 2012 and in the early morning hours of October
22, 2012. The overpower operations were confirmed after the FCC
inspection when the agent monitored Station KGSO when it was operating
with authorized nighttime power and found the field strength
noticeably lower than previous measurements.
9. Steckline does not dispute that it operated Station KGSO with more
than authorized power, explaining that it mistakenly programmed
Station KGSO with Station KQAM's transmitter output power. Commission
precedent, however, has established that a violator can be held liable
for violations resulting from employee mistakes.^ Based on the
evidence before us, we find that Steckline apparently willfully and
repeatedly violated Sections 73.1560(a) and 73.1745(a) of the Rules by
operating Station KGSO with more than authorized power and operating
in daytime mode at night.
ii. Failure to maintain directional parameters within prescribed limits
10. Section 73.62 of the Rules states that "(a) each AM station operating
a directional antenna must maintain the relative amplitudes of the
antenna currents, as indicted by the antenna monitor, within 5% of the
values specified on the instrument of authorization. Directional
antenna relative phases must be maintained within 3 degrees of the
values specified on the instrument of authorization. (b) In the event
of a failure of system components, improper pattern switching or any
other event that results in operation substantially at variance from
the radiation pattern specified in the instrument of authorization for
the pertinent time of day, operation must be terminated within three
minutes unless power can be reduced sufficiently to eliminate any
11. On October 22, 2012, an agent from the Kansas City Office observed
that some of the phase indications for Station KGSO's directional
antenna in daytime mode deviated by more than three degrees and some
of the sample current ratios for both day and nighttime modes of
operation deviated by more than five percent from authorized values.
At the time of inspection, station management claimed there was a
problem with the antenna monitor, so the agent did not consider the
observed readings accurate and cited Steckline for failing to take
measurements at the monitoring points despite known problems with the
antenna monitor. Steckline denies stating that the antenna monitor was
not working and asserts that the Station's engineer resigned in May
2012 and that there had not been regular maintenance on the Station's
equipment prior to the FCC inspection. Steckline also asserts that a
contract engineer inspected the antenna monitor before the inspection
and said that everything was operating correctly.^
12. Even if the antenna monitor was operating correctly, on October 21^
and 22, 2012, Station KGSO operated in daytime mode during the day
when the phase indication for the directional antenna deviated by more
than five degrees and when current ratios deviated by more than three
degrees. In other words, Station KGSO operated substantially at
variance from the authorized directional parameters and did not check
monitoring points, suspend operations, or reduce power to prevent
interference. Moreover, with no working monitoring or alarm system and
no operators monitoring the station parameters, Steckline has no
evidence regarding when its directional antenna last operated within
authorized parameters. Based on the evidence before us, we find that
Steckline apparently willfully and repeatedly violated Sections 73.62
and 73.1745(a) of the Rules by failing to maintain the directional
parameters of its antenna within prescribed limits.
B. Failure to Maintain and Make Available a Complete Public Inspection
13. Section 73.3526(a)(2) 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 that section.^ Section 73.3526(e)(12) of
the Rules states that commercial AM and FM broadcast stations must
retain in the file "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 lists described in
this paragraph shall be retained in the public inspection file until
final action has been taken on the station's next license renewal
application."^ The public inspection file must be maintained at the
main studio of the station,^ and must be available for public
inspection at any time during regular business hours.^
14. On October 22, 2012, an agent from the Kansas City Office asked to
inspect Station KGSO's public inspection file during regular business
hours. The public inspection file provided contained documents that
the Station called "issues programs lists"--except for the third
quarter of 2012-- but these documents did not contain any lists or
information regarding the programs aired to address community issues.
The "issues programs lists" only contained lists of community issues,
as opposed to lists of the programming the Station had aired on those
issues. In response to the NOV, Steckline stated that it did not
realize that its issues programs lists should contain such information
and that it has since supplemented those lists. Based on the evidence
before us, we find that Steckline apparently willfully and repeatedly
violated Section 73.3526 of the Rules by failing to maintain a
complete public inspection file for Station KGSO and apparently
willfully violated Section 73.3526 by failing to make available a
complete public inspection file for Station KGSO.
C. Proposed Forfeiture and Reporting Requirement
15. Pursuant to the Commission's Forfeiture Policy Statement and Section
1.80 of the Rules, the base forfeiture amount for exceeding power
limits is $4,000, for failure to maintain directional pattern within
prescribed parameters is $7,000, and for violation of public file
rules 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
Steckline is apparently liable for a total forfeiture in the amount
of $21,000, consisting of the following: $4,000 for the overpower
operation, $7,000 for failure to maintain the directional pattern
within prescribed limits, and $10,000 for failure to maintain and make
available a complete public inspection file.
16. We further order Steckline to submit a written statement, pursuant to
Section 1.16 of the Rules,^ signed under penalty of perjury by an
officer or director of Steckline, stating that it is operating its
Station within authorized power levels and directional parameters.
This statement must be provided to the Kansas City Office at the
address listed in paragraph 19 within thirty (30) calendar days of the
release date of this NAL.
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES
17. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to Section 503(b) of the
Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and Sections 0.111, 0.311,
0.314 and 1.80 of the Commission's rules, Steckline Communications,
Inc. is hereby NOTIFIED of this APPARENT LIABILITY FOR A FORFEITURE in
the amount of twenty one thousand dollars ($21,000) for violations of
Sections 73.62, 73.1560(a), 73.1745(a), and 73.3526 of the Rules.^
18. 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 and Order,
Steckline Communications, Inc. SHALL PAY the full amount of the
proposed forfeiture or SHALL FILE a written statement seeking
reduction or cancellation of the proposed forfeiture.
19. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Steckline Communications, Inc. SHALL SUBMIT
a written statement, as described in paragraph 16, within thirty (30)
calendar days of the release date of this Notice of Apparent Liability
for Forfeiture and Order. The statement must be mailed to Federal
Communications Commission, Enforcement Bureau, South Central Region,
Kansas City Office, 520 N.E. Colbern Rd., 2nd Floor, Lees Summit, MO
64086-4711. Steckline Communications, Inc. shall also e-mail the
written statement to SCR-Response@fcc.gov.
20. 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. Steckline Communications, Inc. shall also
send electronic notification on the date said payment is made to
SCR-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.
21. 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,
22. 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, South
Central Region, Kansas City Office, 520 N.E. Colbern Rd., 2nd Floor,
Lees Summit, MO 64086-4711, and include the NAL/Acct. No. referenced
in the caption. Steckline Communications, Inc. also shall email the
written response to SCR-Response@fcc.gov.
23. 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 practices (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
24. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a copy of this Notice of Apparent Liability
for Forfeiture and Order shall be sent by both Certified Mail, Return
Receipt Requested, and First Class Mail to Steckline Communications,
Inc. at 1632 South Maize Road, Wichita, KS 67209 and 1300 North 17^th
Street, 11^th Floor, Arlington, VA 22209.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Ronald D. Ramage
Kansas City Office
South Central Region
^ 47 C.F.R. SS 73.62, 73.1560(a), 73.1745(a), 73.3526.
^ See License File No. BR-2657.
^ See License File Nos. BR-2657, BS-1994A.
^ On October 21, 2012, sunset in Wichita, Kansas was 6:43 p.m. On October
22, 2012, sunrise in Wichita, Kansas was 7:45 a.m.
^ Steckline Communications, Inc., Notice of Violation, V201332560004 (Enf.
Bur. Nov. 8, 2012).
^ Letter from Greg Steckline, President, Mid-America Network, to Ronald D.
Ramage, District Director, Kansas City Office, South Central Region,
Enforcement Bureau, at 3 (Nov. 27, 2012).
^ Id. at 2. Steckline did not provide any information for how long the
unit had been in this damaged condition.
^ 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, para. 5 (1991), recons. denied, 7 FCC Rcd
^ 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
1362, para. 9.
^ 47 C.F.R. S 73.1745(a).
^ 47 C.F.R. S 73.1560(a).
^ See, e.g., Tidewater Communications, LLC, Order on Review, 25 FCC Rcd
1675 (2010) (citing North Country Repeaters, Forfeiture Order, 19 FCC Rcd
22139 (Enf. Bur. 2004)); PBJ Communications of Virginia, Inc., Memorandum
Opinion and Order, 7 FCC Rcd 2088 (1988); Standard Communications Corp.,
Memorandum Opinion and Order, 1 FCC Rcd 358 (1986).
^ 47 C.F.R. S 73.62.
^ Steckline was unable to provide written evidence that the contract
engineer inspected the antenna monitor or confirmed that the antenna
monitor was operating correctly.
^ Station KGSO was unable to switch automatically from day to nighttime
mode. Thus, on October 21, 2012, it operated in daytime mode the entire
day. See supra para. 9.
^ 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 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 C.F.R. S 1.16.
^ 47 U.S.C. S 503(b), 47 C.F.R. SS 0.111, 0.311, 0.314, 1.80, 73.62,
73.1560(a), 73.1745(a), and 73.3526.
^ 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).
Federal Communications Commission DA 13-2046
Federal Communications Commission DA 13-2046