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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of
Pittman Broadcasting Services, LLC
Licensee of Station WUUU-FM and
Owner of Antenna Structure No. 1064240
File No.: EB-FIELDSCR-12-0000237
NAL/Acct. No.: 201332620003
Facility ID No.: 22992
Adopted: July 30, 2014 Released: July 30, 2014
By the Regional Director, South Central Region, Enforcement Bureau:
* We impose a penalty of $22,500 against Pittman Broadcasting Services, LLC (Pittman) for failing to maintain operational Emergency Alert System (EAS) equipment and logs, clean or repaint its antenna structure as often as necessary to maintain good visibility, and exhibit required antenna structure lighting. Pittman does not dispute the violations, but requests a forfeiture reduction based on a purported inability to pay. Based on the financial documentation provided by Pittman, however, we find insufficient basis to reduce the forfeiture and deny Pittman's request.
* Specifically, we issue a monetary forfeiture to Pittman, licensee of Station WUUU-FM (Station) and owner of antenna structure number 1064240 (Antenna Structure) in Franklinton, Louisiana, for willfully and repeatedly violating Section 303(q) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (Act), and Sections 11.35(a) - (b), 17.50, and 17.51(a) of the Commission's rules (Rules).
* II. BACKGROUND
* On May 30, 2013, the Enforcement Bureau's New Orleans Office (New Orleans Office) issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture and Order (NAL) to Pittman proposing a $22,500 forfeiture against it for EAS and antenna structure violations. In its NAL Response, Pittman stated that it had repaired its EAS equipment at the Station, notified the Federal Aviation Administration of the lighting outage on the Antenna Structure, and planned to dismantle the Antenna Structure. In addition, Pittman requested a reduction of the proposed forfeiture. In support of its request for reduction of the proposed forfeiture, Pittman asserts that it operated at a net loss in 2009 and 2010, had minimal net income in 2011, and is unable to pay the forfeiture.
* As Pittman does not deny any of the facts stated in the NAL, we affirm the NAL's findings and conclude that Pittman willfully and repeatedly violated Section 303(q) of the Act and Sections 11.35(a) - (b), 17.50, and 17.51(a) of the Rules by failing to maintain operational EAS equipment and logs, clean or repaint the Antenna Structure as often as necessary to maintain good visibility, and exhibit required lighting on the Antenna Structure.
* The proposed forfeiture amount in this case was assessed in accordance with Section 503(b) of the Act, Section 1.80 of the Rules, and the Forfeiture Policy Statement. In examining Pittman's NAL Response, Section 503(b)(2)(E) 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 Pittman's NAL Response in light of these statutory factors and find that a reduction of the forfeiture is unwarranted.
* In response to the NAL, Pittman certified that it repaired its EAS equipment to generate the required logs and notified the Federal Aviation Administration of the lighting outage on the Antenna Structure. We note that corrective action taken to come into compliance with the Rules is expected, and such corrective action does not nullify or mitigate prior violations or associated forfeiture liability. Pittman also stated that it plans to dismantle the Antenna Structure after it receives permission to relocate its Station transmitter. We caution Pittman that it will again be in violation of Section 17.51(a) of the Rules if the lights remain unlit and no active Notice to Airmen is in place. As a result, Pittman must dismantle the Antenna Structure or repair the lights as soon as practicable.
* In addition, Pittman requested reduction of the $22,500 forfeiture based on an alleged inability to pay. Although Pittman acknowledged that the Commission generally has found that gross revenues are the best indicator of an entity's ability to pay a forfeiture and cited cases which granted reductions based on the entity's gross revenues, it nevertheless requested a forfeiture reduction based on Pittman's net revenues. We find no reason to depart from our longstanding precedent and consider anything other than Pittman's gross revenues when determining its ability to pay a forfeiture. Based on the financial documents provided by Pittman, we find insufficient basis to reduce the forfeiture due to an inability to pay.
* ORDERING CLAUSES
* Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to Section 503(b) of the Act and Sections 0.111, 0.204, 0.311, 0.314, and 1.80(f)(4) of the Rules, Pittman Broadcasting Services, LLC IS LIABLE FOR A MONETARY FORFEITURE in the amount of twenty-two thousand five hundred dollars ($22,500) for violations of Section 303(q) of the Act and Sections 11.35(a) - (b), 17.50, and 17.51(a) of the Rules.
* Payment of the forfeiture shall be made in the manner provided for in Section 1.80 of the Rules within thirty (30) calendar days after the release date of this Forfeiture Order. If the forfeiture is not paid within the period specified, the case may be referred to the U.S. Department of Justice for enforcement of the forfeiture pursuant to Section 504(a) of the Act. Pittman Broadcasting Services, LLC shall send electronic notification of payment to SCR-Response@fcc.gov on the date said payment is made. The payment must be made by check or similar instrument, wire transfer, or credit card, and must include the NAL/Account Number and FRN referenced above. 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.
10. 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.
* IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a copy of this Forfeiture Order shall be sent by both First Class and Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested, to Pittman Broadcasting Services, LLC at 307 S. Jefferson Avenue, Covington, LA 70433, and to its counsel, Dan. J. Alpert, at 2120 N 21[st] Rd., Arlington, VA 22201.
* FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
* Dennis P. Carlton
* Regional Director, South Central Region
* Enforcement Bureau