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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of Steckline Communications, Inc. Licensee of Station
KIUL-AM Garden City, KS Owner of Antenna Structure No. 1033013 Garden
City, KS ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) File No.: EB-FIELDSCR-12-00003982 NAL/Acct.
No.: 201332560005 FRN: 0009951286 Facility ID No.: 67041
Adopted: October 2, 2014 Released: October 2, 2014
By the Regional Director, South Central Region, Enforcement Bureau:
1. We impose a penalty of $5,600 against Steckline Communications, Inc.
(Steckline) for failing to maintain effective antenna structure
fencing. The Commission's antenna structure fencing rules protect the
public by limiting access to areas with a high potential for
radiofrequency exposure. Steckline does not dispute that its fencing
was in disrepair at the time of inspection, but it requests a
forfeiture reduction asserting that the violations were not willful or
repeated because the fencing purportedly was damaged by weather. For
the reasons stated below, we find that the violations were willful and
repeated, but reduce the forfeiture based on Steckline's prior good
faith efforts to comply with the Commission's antenna structure
2. Specifically, we issue a monetary forfeiture to Steckline, licensee of
Station KIUL-AM and owner of antenna structure number 1033013 (Antenna
Structure), both located in Garden City, Kansas, for willful and
repeated violation of Section 73.49 of the Commission's rules (Rules)
by failing to enclose the Antenna Structure within an effective locked
fence or other enclosure.^
3. On May 6, 2013, the Enforcement Bureau's Kansas City Office (Kansas
City Office) issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture
(NAL) ^ to Steckline proposing a $7,000 forfeiture against it for
failure to enclose the Antenna Structure within an effective locked
fence or other enclosure.^ As detailed in the NAL, the Kansas City
Office agent inspected the Antenna Structure on July 12, 2012, and
observed a section of the fence surrounding the Antenna Structure
lying on the ground while Station KIUL-AM was in operation.^ Based on
the condition of the fencing, the agent concluded that it had been in
disrepair for some time.^ Steckline stated that the Antenna
Structure's fencing initially was damaged in a storm on April 29,
2012, and that it made temporary repairs to the fencing the first week
in May 2012.^ In its NAL Response, Steckline requests reduction of the
proposed forfeiture asserting that the violations were not "willful or
repeated" because the fencing purportedly was damaged due to natural
causes or "an act of God."^ Specifically, Steckline asserts that the
temporary fencing repairs were damaged by two other wind storms eight
days prior to the July 12^th inspection.^ Moreover, Steckline states
that it promptly repaired the Antenna Structure's fencing following
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 Steckline'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 Steckline's NAL
Response in light of these statutory factors and find that the
violations were willful and repeated, but that a forfeiture reduction
is justified based on Steckline's prior good faith efforts to comply
with the Commission's antenna structure fencing rules.
5. Steckline asserts that the violations were not willful or repeated
because the Antenna Structure's fencing and temporary repairs were
damaged by storms.^ We disagree. The mere fact that an antenna
structure's fence may have been damaged by weather does not
necessarily mean that a resulting violation was not willful, and we
have repeatedly assessed forfeitures for violations potentially caused
by weather damage.^ The Act does not require an intent to violate the
law in order for a violation to be willful, only a "conscious and
deliberate commission or omission of [any] act."^ While the Commission
previously has found that AM antenna structure fencing violations were
not willful when caused by actions beyond the antenna structure
owner's control, it has required the owner to produce evidence that it
regularly monitored the condition of its antenna site and the
violation occurred "just prior" to the Commission's inspection.^
6. Here, Steckline knew that the Antenna Structure's fencing was damaged
in April 2012, but did not implement permanent repairs for more than
two months and only after the agent's inspection. Steckline has
provided no evidence that it undertook regular monitoring of the
Antenna Structure after discovering the initial weather damage in
April 2012 or at any other time prior to the inspection. Although
Steckline purportedly implemented temporary repairs to the Antenna
Structure's fencing in early May 2012, the agent observed the fencing
section lying on the ground over two months later. As noted above, the
condition of the Antenna Structure's fencing indicated that was in
disrepair for some time.^ At a minimum, Steckline admits that the
temporary fencing repairs were ineffective for at least eight days.^
Consequently, even if Steckline's violations were not willful, they
were repeated, which provides a sufficient basis to assess a
forfeiture against Steckline under the Act.^ We therefore find that
Steckline failed to demonstrate that it regularly monitored the
condition of the Antenna Structure's fencing and the violation
occurred "just prior" to inspection, and conclude that Steckline's
violations were willful. In addition, as Steckline admits that the
Antenna Structure's fencing was down for at least eight days prior to
the inspection, we conclude that Steckline's violations were repeated.
7. Steckline further asserts that a forfeiture reduction is warranted
because it promptly repaired the Antenna Structure's fencing following
the inspection.^ Corrective action taken to come into compliance after
an inspection is expected, and does not nullify or mitigate any prior
forfeitures or violations.^ However, we find that a forfeiture
reduction is warranted based on Steckline's good faith compliance
efforts to implement the temporary fencing repairs prior to the
inspection and we reduce the penalty imposed to $5,600.^
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES
8. 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,
Steckline Communications, Inc. IS LIABLE FOR A MONETARY FORFEITURE in
the amount of five thousand six hundred dollars ($5,600) for
violations of Section 73.49 of the Rules.^
9. 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.^ Steckline Communications, Inc. 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
* 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.
11. 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 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
Dennis P. Carlton
Regional Director, South Central Region
^ 47 C.F.R. S 73.49.
^ Steckline Communications, Inc., Notice of Apparent Liability for
Forfeiture, 28 FCC Rcd 6174 (Enf. Bur. 2013) (NAL)
^ Id. at 6174, para. 2.
^ See id. at 6176, para. 5 (noting that the fencing "had weeds growing
through it, which indicated that it had been in that condition for more
than one day").
^ Id. at 6174-75, para. 3.
^ Letter from Greg Steckline, President, Steckline Communications, Inc.,
to Kansas City Office, South Central Region, Enforcement Bureau at 1 (June
3, 2013) (on file in EB-FIELDSCR-12-00003982) (NAL Response).
^ Id. Previously, Steckline stated it was unaware when the temporary
repairs to the fence were damaged and claimed it must have been damaged by
the wind. See NAL, 28 FCC Rcd at 6175, para. 3.
^ Id. Repairs of the Antenna Structure's fencing were completed on July
17, 2012. Id.
^ 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), recons. denied, 15 FCC Rcd 303 (1999)
(Forfeiture Policy Statement).
^ 47 U.S.C. S 503(b)(2)(E).
^ NAL Response at 1.
^ See, e.g., JMK Commc'ns, Inc., Forfeiture Order, 28 FCC Rcd 6215 (Enf.
Bur. 2013) (imposing $7,000 forfeiture for antenna structure fencing
violations that purportedly resulted from an "unforeseeable natural
disaster" that caused "extensive flooding"); Rama Commc'ns, Inc.,
Forfeiture Order, 22 FCC Rcd 3985 (Enf. Bur. 2007) (imposing $7,000
forfeiture for antenna structure fencing violations allegedly caused by a
storm); see also Catholic, Apostolic & Roman Catholic Church in Puerto
Rico, Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, 29 FCC Rcd 342 (Enf.
Bur. 2014) (proposing $7,000 forfeiture for antenna structure fencing
violations that purportedly resulted from "heavy storms").
^ 47 U.S.C. S 312(f)(1).
^ See, e.g., Vernon Broad., Inc., Memorandum Opinion and Order, 60 Rad.
Reg. 2d 1275 (1986) (cancelling a $1,000 AM tower fencing violation where
the evidence indicated that the fencing was vandalized just prior to
^ See JMK Commc'ns, 28 FCC Rcd at 6215, para. 2 (observing condition of
fencing indicated that it was damaged for a significant period of time).
^ Steckline did not state how it determined the temporary repairs were
damaged eight days prior to the inspection. Consequently, it is not clear
from the record whether Steckline knew of the damage and allowed the
fallen fencing to remain in place until the inspection.
^ The Commission may assess a forfeiture for violations that are merely
repeated, and not willful. See 47 U.S.C. S 503(b)(1)(B) (stating that any
person determined by the Commission to have "willfully or repeatedly
failed to comply with any of the provisions of [the] Act or of any rule,
regulation, or order issued by the Commission . . . shall be liable to the
United States for a forfeiture penalty") (emphasis added); 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).
^ NAL Response at 1.
^ See, e.g., Seawest Yacht Brokers, Notice of Forfeiture, 9 FCC Rcd 6099,
6099, para. 7 (1994) (citations omitted); Rama Commc'ns, Inc., 22 FCC Rcd
at 3987, para. 8.
^ See, e.g., Sutro Corp., Memorandum Opinion and Order, 19 FCC Rcd 15274,
15277, para. 10 (2004) (stating that the Commission will generally reduce
a forfeiture "based on the good faith corrective efforts of a violator
when those corrective efforts were taken prior to Commission notification
of the violation"); Catholic Radio Network of Loveland, Inc., Forfeiture
Order, 29 FCC Rcd 121, 122-23, para. 5 (Enf. Bur. 2014) ("The Commission
will generally reduce an assessed forfeiture based on the good faith
corrective efforts of a violator when those corrective efforts were taken
prior to Commission notification of the violation.") (emphasis in
original); Frandsen Media Co., LLC, Forfeiture Order, 29 FCC Rcd 9242
(Enf. Bur. 2014) (reducing forfeiture where antenna structure owner took
good faith efforts to replace radiofrequency radiation warning signs
allegedly stolen by vandals).
^ 47 U.S.C. S 503(b); 47 C.F.R. SS 0.111, 0.204, 0.311, 0.314, 1.80(f)(4),
^ 47 C.F.R. S 1.80.
^ 47 U.S.C. S 504(a).
^ 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.
(Continued from previous page)
Federal Communications Commission DA 14-1416
Federal Communications Commission DA 14-1416