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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of Steckline Communications, Inc. Licensee of Station
Scott City, KS ) ) ) ) ) ) ) File No.: EB-FIELDSCR-13-00008450 NAL/Acct.
No.: 2013325600006 FRN: 0009951286 Facility ID No.: 71854
NOTICE OF APPARENT LIABILITY FOR FORFEITURE
Adopted: May 6, 2013 Released: May 6, 2013
By the District Director, Kansas City Office, South Central Region,
1. In this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL), we find
that Steckline Communications, Inc. (Steckline), licensee of AM
Station KYUL, in Scott City, Kansas, apparently willfully and
repeatedly violated Sections 73.1125(a), and 73.3526 of the
Commission's rules (Rules),^ by failing to (1) have a fully staffed
main studio, and (2) maintain and make available a complete public
inspection file. We conclude that Steckline is apparently liable for
a forfeiture in the amount of twenty thousand dollars ($20,000).^
2. On July 12, 2012, an agent from the Enforcement Bureau's Kansas City
Office (Kansas City Office) attempted to inspect Station KYUL-AM's
main studio, but was unable to locate one in Scott City, Kansas or the
immediate environs. Ultimately, the agent located Station KYUL-AM's
public inspection file at a Scott City insurance agency, an address
provided by Steckline, but the file contained no documents dated after
3. On July 27, 2012, the Kansas City Office issued a Letter of Inquiry
(LOI) to Steckline regarding the lack of a main studio and public
inspection file.^ In response, Steckline conceded that "there was no
KYUL main studio on July 12, 2012," and "the KYUL main studio became
completely unstaffed in April 2011." ^ ^ Steckline claimed the
"absence of additions to [the KYUL public inspection] file after 2009
was an oversight" and that it had placed an advertisement in the local
Scott City paper listing the location of the KYUL file at the
insurance agency.^ Steckline discontinued operations of Station
KYUL-AM on July 13, 2012, "due to its present inability to maintain a
properly staffed main studio."^
4. 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 Maintain a Fully Staffed Main Studio for Station KYUL-AM
5. Section 73.1125(a) of the Rules requires broadcast stations to
maintain a main studio.^ The Commission has interpreted Section
73.1125 (also known as the Main Studio Rule) to require, among other
things, that a licensee maintain a "meaningful management and staff
presence" at its main studio.^ Specifically, the Commission has found
that a main studio "must, at a minimum, maintain full-time managerial
and full-time staff personnel."^ On July 12, 2012, an agent from the
Kansas City Office observed that Station KYUL-AM had no main studio.
Steckline admitted that on July 12, 2012, Station KYUL-AM did not have
a main studio.^ Steckline also admitted that Station KYUL-AM had been
completely unstaffed since April 2011.^ Thus, based on the evidence
before us, we find that Steckline apparently willfully violated
Section 73.1125(a) of the Rules by failing to maintain a main studio
for Station KYUL-AM and apparently willfully and repeatedly violated
Section 73.1125(a) of the Rules by failing to maintain any staff for
Station KYUL-AM at its main studio.
A. Failure to Maintain and Make Available a Complete Public Inspection
6. 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.^
7. On July 12, 2012, an agent from the Kansas City Office requested to
inspect Station KYUL-AM's public inspection file during regular
business hours at a local insurance agency in Scott City. The public
inspection file contained no documents or issues programs lists dated
after 2009. Steckline claims the omission of more current documents
was an oversight,^ but as the Commission has held, violations
resulting from inadvertent error or failure to become familiar with
the Commission's requirements are willful violations.^ Based on the
evidence before us, we find that Steckline apparently willfully and
repeatedly violated Section 73.3526(a)(2) of the Rules by failing to
maintain a complete public inspection file and apparently willfully
violated Section 73.3526(c) of the Rules by failing to make available
a complete public inspection file.
B. Proposed Forfeiture
8. Pursuant to the Commission's Forfeiture Policy Statement and Section
1.80 of the Rules, the base forfeiture amount for violation of the
main studio rule is $7,000 and the base forfeiture amount 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.^ We conclude that an upward adjustment in the amount of
$2,000 is appropriate for Steckline's public inspection file
violations due to its over two-year duration.^ Similarly, we conclude
that an upward adjustment in the amount of $1,000 is appropriate for
Steckline's main studio violations, which occurred over 14 months.^
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 $20,000, consisting of the following: $8,000 for the main studio
violation, and $12,000 for the public inspection file violation.
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, 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 thousand dollars ($20,000) for
violations of Sections 73.1125(a), and 73.3526 of the Commission's
10. 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, 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.
11. 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.
12. 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, ARINQUIRIES@fcc.gov.
13. 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, LLC also shall e-mail the
written response to SCR-Response@fcc.gov.
14. 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
15. 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 Steckline Communications, Inc. at
1632 S. Maize Rd., Wichita, KS 67209 and to its attorney, James P.
Riley at Fletcher, Heald and Hildreth, 1300 North 17th Street, 11th
Floor, Arlington, VA 22209.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Ronald D. Ramage
Kansas City Office
South Central Region
^ 47 C.F.R. SS 73.49, 73.3526.
^ We adopt this NAL on the same day as a separate Notice of Apparent
Liability for Forfeiture, which finds Steckline apparently liable for AM
antenna structure fencing violations at Station KIUL-AM. See Steckline
Communications, Inc., Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture and
Order, DA 13-971 (May 6, 2013).
^ Letter from Ronald D. Ramage, District Director, Kansas City Office,
South Central Region, Enforcement Bureau, to Steckline Communications,
Inc. (July 27, 2012) (on file in EB-FIELDSCR-12-00003414) (LOI).
^ Letter from Greg Steckline, President, Steckline Communications, Inc.,
to Ronald D. Ramage, District Director, Kansas City Office, South Central
Region, Enforcement Bureau at 2 (Aug. 24, 2012) (on file in
EB-FIELDSCR-12-00003414) (LOI Response).
^ Id. at 3.
^ Letter from James P. Riley, Counsel for Steckline Communications, Inc.,
to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, Federal Communications Commission (July
17, 2012) (on file in EB-FIELDSCR-12-00003414). See also Letter from James
P. Riley, Counsel for Steckline Communications, Inc., to Marlene H.
Dortch, Secretary, Federal Communications Commission (July 26, 2012)
(requesting a waiver to co-locate the main studio of Station KYUL with
Station KIUL) (on file in EB-FIELDSCR-12-00003414). Steckline's main
studio waiver request was accepted for filing by the Media Bureau on March
15, 2013. We remind Steckline that if its waiver is granted it will be
required to maintain a complete public inspection file for Station KYUL at
Station KIUL's main studio.
^ 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 C.F.R. S 73.1125.
^ Amendment of Sections 73.1125 and 73.1130 of the Commission's Rules, the
Main Studio and Program Origination Rules for Radio and Television
Broadcast Stations, Memorandum Opinion and Order, 3 FCC Rcd 5024, 5026
(1988) (Main Studio and Program Origination Rules), erratum issued, 3 FCC
Rcd 5717 (1988) (correcting language in n.29).
^ See Jones Eastern of the Outer Banks, Inc., Memorandum Opinion and
Order, 6 FCC Rcd 3615, 3616 & n.2 (1991) (noting that, "This is not to
say that the same staff person and manager must be assigned full-time to
the main studio. Rather, there must be management and staff presence on a
full-time basis during normal business hours to be considered
`meaningful.'"), clarified, 7 FCC Rcd 6800 (1992) (Jones Eastern II). See
also Birach Broadcasting Corporation, Notice of Apparent Liability for
Forfeiture, 25 FCC Rcd 2635 (Enf. Bur. 2010).
^ LOI Response at 2.
^ 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).
^ Steckline also notes that the contents of the public inspection files
for Stations KYUL-AM and KIUL-AM would be the same, as Station KYUL-AM
broadcasts Station KIUL's programming, and that Station KIUL maintained a
complete public inspection file. LOI Response at 3. However, this is
irrelevant as each station is required to maintain its own public
^ See, e.g., USA Teleport, Inc., Memorandum Opinion and Order, 26 FCC Rcd
6431, 6434, para. 9 (Enf. Bur. 2011) (ignorance of a filing requirement
does not negate willfulness of failure to file); Heidelberg College,
Forfeiture Order, 24 FCC Rcd 11923, 11924, para. 6 (MB 2009)
(unintentional failure to file timely license renewal is willful).
^ 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).
^ See 47 C.F.R. S 1.80(b)(6), Note (to be recodified at 47 C.F.R. S
1.80(b)(8) per 77 Fed. Reg. 77131, 77132 (2012)) (establishing "repeated
or continuous violation" as an upward adjustment factor). See also
Gulf-California Broadcasting Co., Notice of Apparent Liability for
Forfeiture and Order, 27 FCC Rcd 11421 (Enf. Bur. 2012) (imposing upward
adjustment for duration of public inspection file violation).
^ See B&C Kentucky, LLC (Assignor), Memorandum Opinion and Order and
Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, 16 FCC Rcd 9305 (MB 2001)
(proposing $1,500 upward adjustment because licensee intentionally failed
to comply with main studio rules for two years). We propose a slightly
lower upward adjustment because the violation occurred for less than two
^ 47 U.S.C. S 503(b); 47 C.F.R. SS 0.111, 0.204, 0.311, 0.314, 1.80,
^ 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).
(...continued from previous page)
Federal Communications Commission DA 13-970
Federal Communications Commission DA 13-970