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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of )
Southern Media Communications, )
Inc. ) File Number EB-02-AT-304
Licensee of AM Radio Station ) NAL/Acct.No. 200232480021
WBCA, Bay Minnette, Alabama, )
and Owner of Unregistered ) FRN 0004-9693-58
Antenna Structure Located at )
30° 52' 10'' N Latitude by 087° )
46' 09'' W Longitude in Bay )
NOTICE OF APPARENT LIABILITY FOR FORFEITURE
Released: September 24, 2002
By the Enforcement Bureau, Atlanta Office:
1. In this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture
(``NAL''), we find Southern Media Communications, Inc.
(``Southern''), licensee of AM radio station WBCA, Bay Minnette,
Alabama, and owner of unregistered antenna structure located at
30° 52' 10'' North latitude by 087° 46' 09'' West longitude in
Bay Minnette, Alabama, apparently liable for a forfeiture in the
amount of eleven thousand dollars ($11,000) for willful violation
of Sections 11.35(a) and 17.4(a) of the Commission's Rules
(``Rules'').1 Specifically, we find Southern Media
Communications, Inc. apparently liable for failing to ensure
Emergency Alert System (``EAS'') equipment was operational and
failing to register their antenna structure with the Commission.
2. On August 22, 2002, an agent from the FCC Enforcement
Bureau's Atlanta Office inspected Southern's antenna structure at
30° 52' 10'' North latitude by 087° 46' 09'' West longitude near
Bay Minnette, Alabama. The antenna structure was used as part of
radio station WBCA AM. No Antenna Structure Registration
(``ASR'') number was observed anywhere near the base of the
3. That same day, the agent inspected the EAS system of
WBCA which was co-owned and co-located with WYDH-FM at
the main studio in Atmore, Alabama. The two stations
shared an EAS unit. The inspection was conducted with
Mr. Tom White, the designated Chief Operator. The
station had a Burke EAS unit in the rack, turned on, but
the equipment was not operational. When Mr. White, at
the direction of the agent, attempted to send an EAS
test, it did not transmit over the air for either
station. At the time of the inspection, there was no
evidence in either station's logs of EAS tests being sent
or received for at least one year or that EAS equipment
had been removed from service for repair.
4. Additionally, Mr. White as well as Mr. Walter Bowen,
President of Southern Media Communications, Inc. both confirmed
that the antenna structure used as part of WBCA AM was owned by
the licensee. Finally, Mr. Bowen stated that he believed that
the structure was properly registered, but could provide no
documentation to support that statement.
5. According to Commission records searched on September
3, 2002, Southern's antenna structure for station WBCA was not
6. Section 11.35(a) of the Rules sets forth that broadcast
stations are responsible for ensuring that EAS encoders, EAS
decoders and Attention Signal generating and receiving equipment
used as part of the EAS are installed so that the monitoring and
transmitting functions are available during the times the
stations are in operation. On August 22, 2002, there was no
operational EAS equipment at the studios of WBCA. In addition,
the station logs contained no entries indicating EAS tests had
been conducted for at least one year or entries indicating EAS
equipment had been removed for repair.2
7. Section 17.4(a) of the Rules states that, ``[e]ffective
July 1, 1996, the owner of any proposed or existing antenna
structure that requires notice of proposed construction to the
Federal Aviation Administration (``FAA'') must register the
structure with the Commission.'' Southern owned the antenna
structure used as part of radio station WBCA. This structure
required notice to the FAA, and thus required registration with
the Commission, because the structure height was over 200 feet.3
There were no Commission records indicating that this structure
was registered from at least August 26 to September 3, 2002.
8. Based on the evidence before us, we find Southern Media
Communications, Inc. willfully4 violated Sections 11.35(a) and
17.4(a) of the Rules by failing to ensure that EAS equipment was
operational at WBCA and by failing to register its antenna
structure with the Commission.
9. Pursuant to Section 1.80(b)(4) of the Rules,5 the base
forfeiture amount for EAS equipment not installed or operational
is $8,000 and the base forfeiture amount for failing to register
its antenna structure (failure to file required forms or
information) is $3,000. In assessing the monetary forfeiture
amount, we must also take into account the statutory factors set
forth in Section 503(b)(2)(D) of the Communications Act of 1934,
as amended (``Act''), which include 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.''6 Considering the entire record and applying the
factors listed above, this case warrants an $11,000 forfeiture.
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES
10. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED THAT, pursuant to Section
503(b) of the Act,7 and Sections 0.111, 0.311 and 1.80 of the
Rules,8 Southern Media Communications, Inc. is hereby NOTIFIED of
this APPARENT LIABILITY FOR A FORFEITURE in the amount of eleven
thousand dollars ($11,000) for willful violation of Sections
11.35(a) and 17.4(a) of the Rules by failing to ensure that EAS
equipment was installed and operational at station WBCA and
failing to register its antenna structure with the Commission.
11. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT, pursuant to Section 1.80 of
the Rules, within thirty days of the release date of this NAL,
Southern Media 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.
12. Payment of the forfeiture may be made by mailing a
check or similar instrument, payable to the order of the Federal
Communications Commission, to the Forfeiture Collection Section,
Finance Branch, Federal Communications Commission, P.O. Box
73482, Chicago, Illinois 60673-7482. The payment should note the
NAL/Acct. No. and FRN referenced above. Request for payment of
the full amount of NAL under an installment plan should be sent
to: Chief, Revenue and Receivable Operations Group, 445 12th
Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20554.9
13. The response, if any, must be mailed to Federal
Communications Commission, Office of the Secretary, 445 12th
Street, SW, Washington, DC 20554, Attn: Enforcement Bureau-
Technical & Public Safety Division, and MUST INCLUDE THE
NAL/Acct. No. referenced above.
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 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 documentation
15. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT a copy of this NAL shall be
sent by regular mail and Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested
to Southern Media Communications, Inc., 720 South White Avenue,
Bay Minnette, Alabama 36507 and an additional copy to Southern
Media Communications, Inc at 1318 S. Main Street, Atmore,
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Fred L. Broce
District Director, Atlanta Office
1 47 C.F.R. §§ 11.35(a) and 17.4(a).
2 EAS activations and tests, failures to receive such tests, and
EAS equipment malfunctions must be recorded in the station log.
See 47 C.F.R. §§ 11.35(a)-(b), 11.55(c)(7) and 11.61(b).
3 See 47 C.F.R. § 17.7(a).
4 Section 312(f)(1) of the Act, 47 U.S.C. § 312(f)(1), which
applies to violations for which forfeitures are assessed under
Section 503(b) of the Act, provides that ``[t]he term `willful,'
when used with reference to the commission or omission of any
act, means the conscious and deliberate commission or omission of
such act, irrespective of any intent to violate any provision of
this Act ....'' See Southern California Broadcasting Co., 6 FCC
Rcd 4387 (1991).
5 47 C.F.R. § 1.80(b)(4).
6 47 U.S.C. § 503 (b)(2)(D).
7 47 U.S.C. § 503(b).
8 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.111, 0.311, 1.80.
9 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.1914.