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                          Before the
                Federal Communications Commission
                     Washington, D.C. 20554

                       
In the Matter of                   )
                              )
NATCHEZ COMMUNICATIONS, INC.  )         File No. 99-OR-156
FM Station WTYJ                    )         
Fayette, Mississippi                    )         NAL/Acct.   No. 

915OR0003
                                     
                   MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

     Adopted:  August 15, 2000            Released:    August 17, 

2000

By the Chief, Enforcement Bureau:

                        I.  INTRODUCTION

     1.   In this Memorandum  Opinion and  Order (``Order''),  we 

deny the petition for reconsideration filed on April 3, 2000,  by 

Natchez Communications, Inc.  (``Natchez''), the  licensee of  FM 

Station    WTYJ,    Fayette,    Mississippi.     Natchez    seeks 

reconsideration of  the Forfeiture  Order,1 in  which the  Chief, 

Enforcement  Bureau  (``Bureau'')  found  Natchez  liable  for  a 

monetary forfeiture in the amount of $5,000 for willful violation 

of Section  73.1213(b)  of the  Commission's  Rules  (``Rules'')2 

concerning  tower  lighting  and   painting.   For  the   reasons 

discussed below, we affirm the monetary forfeiture in the  amount 

of $5,000.

                         II.  BACKGROUND

     2.   Natchez is the owner of WTYJ's antenna tower 
(``tower'').  On March 19, 1999, an agent from the Commission's 
New Orleans Field Office (``New Orleans Office'') observed that 
the tower's lights were not functioning and that its paint was 
severely chipped and faded.  On the basis of these observations, 
the New Orleans Office issued Natchez an Official Notice of 
Violation on March 31, 1999.  On the night of May 13, 1999, and 
during the day on May 14, 1999, the agent observed that the 
tower's lights were still not functioning and that the tower had 
not been repainted.

     3.   On the  basis of  the foregoing  observations, the  New 

Orleans Office issued a Notice of Apparent Liability (``NAL'') to 

Natchez on July 8, 1999,  proposing a monetary forfeiture of  ten 

thousand dollars  ($10,000)  for  willful  violation  of  Section 

73.1213(b) of the Rules (antenna  tower with defective paint  and 

nonfunctioning lighting ).3  In Natchez's response to the NAL, it 

requested  reduction  of  the  proposed  monetary  forfeiture  to 

$1,000.  On March  3, 2000,  the Bureau  released the  Forfeiture 

Order, which assessed a monetary forfeiture of $5,000 for willful 

violation of Section 73.1213(b). 



                           DISCUSSION

     4.   The Bureau  issued  the Forfeiture  Order  pursuant  to 
Section 503  of  the  Communications  Act  of  1934,  as  amended 
(``Act''), 47 U.S.C.   503, and Section 1.80  of the Rules.   In 
assessing  the  forfeiture  amount,   the  Bureau  followed   the 
forfeiture standards established  in Section 503  of the Act  and 
The Commission's  Forfeiture Policy  Statement and  Amendment  of 
Section 1.80 of the Rules  to Incorporate Guidelines, 12 FCC  Rcd 
17087 (1997),  recon.  denied, 15  FCC  Rcd 303  (1999)  ("Policy 
Statement").   Section  503(b)  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. 47  U.S.C. 
 503(b)(2)(D).   Taking those  factors into  account,  including 
Natchez's ability to pay, the Bureau imposed a $5,000  forfeiture 
- a reduction by one half from the $10,000 forfeiture proposed by 
the NAL.


     5.    Natchez seeks a further reduction of the forfeiture to 
$1,000 on the basis of its alleged inability to pay $5,000.   The 
Bureau decided, on the basis of financial documentation  provided 
by Natchez,  that  Natchez  was  able  to  pay  $5,000.   Natchez 
provides no new financial documentation to support its claim that 
it cannot  pay  $5,000.  Rather,  Natchez  argues that  a  $5,000 
forfeiture is  excessive because:   it constitutes  nearly 6%  of 
Natchez's gross revenues for  1998; Natchez sustained net  losses 
for the years 1996-1998 which the Bureau did not consider in  the 
Forfeiture Order; and payment of a $5,000 forfeiture would  cause 
``severe financial hardship'' to Natchez's business.

     6.   Natchez's  arguments   do  not   justify  any   further 
reduction of  the  forfeiture  amount.  The  Commission  has  not 
specified any  fixed percentage  of gross  revenues that  per  se 
exceeds a licensee's ability to pay.    Moreover,  we  will   not 
reduce Natchez's  forfeiture on  the basis  of financial  losses.  
When a licensee has presented  no other persuasive evidence  that 
payment of  a forfeiture  would cause  financial difficulty,  the 
presence  of  financial  loss  does  not  by  itself  necessarily 
establish a  licensee's  inability  to  pay  a  forfeiture.   See 
Independent Communications, Inc., 14  FCC Rcd 9605, 9610  (1999), 
in which  the  licensee sustained  a  net loss  of  $520,667  (on 
revenues of  $516,147).  Although  Natchez claims  that paying  a 
$5,000 forfeiture would  cause ``severe  financial hardship''  to 
its business,  it has  provided no  persuasive information  other 
than  financial losses4 to support this claim.

     7.   We have examined Natchez's petition for reconsideration 
pursuant to  the  statutory  factors  set  forth  above,  and  in 
conjunction with the Policy  Statement as well.   As a result  of 
our reconsideration,  we  conclude  that Natchez  has  failed  to 
provide a  sufficient  justification  for  further  reducing  the 
forfeiture amount. 

                        ORDERING CLAUSES 

     8.   ACCORDINGLY, IT IS  ORDERED that,  pursuant to  Section 
1.106 of the Rules, Natchez's petition for reconsideration of the 
Forfeiture Order (NAL/Acct. No. 915OR0003)released March 3, 2000, 
IS DENIED.

9.   IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, pursuant to Section 503(b) of 
the Act5 and Section 1.80(f) of the Rules,6 Natchez 
Communications, Inc., shall, within 30 days of the release of 
this Order, pay the amount of $5,000 for willful violation of 
Section 73.1213(b) of the Rules.  If the forfeiture is not paid 
within the specified period, the case may be referred to the 
Department of Justice for collection pursuant to Section 504(a) 
of the Act.7  Payment may be made by credit card through the 
Commission's Credit and Debt Management Center at (202) 418-1995 
or by mailing a check or similar instrument, payable to the order 
of the Federal Communications Commission, to the Federal 
Communications Commission, P.O. Box 73482, Chicago, Illinois 
60673-7482.  The payment should note the NAL/Acct. No. 915OR0003.  
Requests for full payment under an installment plan should be 
sent to:  Chief, Credit and Debt Management Center, 445 12th 
Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20554. 8

     10.  IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that  a copy of this Order  shall 

be sent by certified mail,  return receipt requested, to  counsel 

for Natchez  Communications,  Inc.,  Stephen  Diaz  Gavin,  Esq., 

Patton Boggs LLP, 2550 M Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20037.
                    
                              FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION  



                              David H. Solomon
                              Chief, Enforcement Bureau
_________________________

1 13 FCC Rcd 16793 (Compl. & Inf. Bureau 1998)

2 47 C.F.R.  73.1213(b).

3 Notice of Apparent Liability, NAL Acct. No. 915OR0003 (Released 
July 8, 1999). 

4 According to Natchez's federal tax income tax returns, Natchez 
was actually profitable during 1996 and 1997 but experienced 
losses for tax purposes because of loss carryovers from previous 
years. 

5 47 U.S.C.  503(b)

6 47 C.F.R.  1.80(f)

7 47 U.S.C.  504(a).

8 See 47 C.F.R.  1.1914.