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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of )
Blue Skies Broadcasting Corporation ) File No. EB-02-SD-
) NAL/Acct. No.
San Marcos, CA ) FRN 0003-7774-06
Adopted: July 18, 2003 Released: July 22, 2003
By the Chief, Enforcement Bureau:
1. In this Forfeiture Order (``Order''), we issue a
monetary forfeiture in the amount of one thousand eight
hundred dollars ($1,800) to Blue Skies Broadcasting
Corporation (``Blue Skies''), for willful violations of
Sections 11.35(a) and 73.1125(c) of the Commission's
Rules (``Rules'').1 The noted violations involve Blue
Skies' failure to have an operational Emergency Alert
System (``EAS'') installed, and its failure to have a
main studio within the predicted Grade B contour of
station KSKT-CA. 2
2. On July 31, 2002, the Commission's San Diego,
California, Field Office (``San Diego Office'') issued a
Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (``NAL'') to
Blue Skies for a forfeiture in the amount of fifteen
thousand dollars ($15,000).3 Blue Skies filed its
response to the NAL on September 3, 2002.
3. Blue Skies is the licensee of Class A Television
Broadcast station KSKT-CA. On March 6, 2002, an agent
from the San Diego Office planned to conduct a routine
inspection of the EAS equipment for station KSKT-CA but
could not find a local telephone number or studio
address for that station. On March 8, 2002, the agent
placed a telephone call to a number listed in Blue
Skies' most recent application and spoke to Mr. Robert
Ruiz, the president of Blue Skies. Mr. Ruiz stated that
Blue Skies closed the main studio for KSKT-CA in
December 2001 for financial reasons and removed the
station's EAS equipment from service at the same time.
4. On April 12, 2002, agents from the San Diego Office
inspected the transmitter site for station KSKT-CA.
They observed that the station's EAS equipment was
installed but was not capable of receiving or
transmitting the required weekly and monthly EAS tests
and, therefore, was not fully operational.
5. On July 31, 2002, the San Diego Office issued a NAL for
a forfeiture in the amount of $15,000 to Blue Skies for
failure to have operational EAS equipment installed and
failure to have a main studio within the predicted grade
B contour of station KSKT-CA. In its response, filed
September 3, 2002, Blue Skies admits that it closed its
main studio for financial reasons and that it did not
have fully operational EAS equipment. Blue Skies,
however, seeks cancellation or reduction of the proposed
monetary forfeiture. Blue Skies states that its EAS
equipment is now fully operational and that it has
``arranged'' to have a main studio at 2230 Micro Place,
Escondido, California, a location it believes to be
within KSKT-CA's Grade B contour. Blue Skies argues
that the full forfeiture amount of $15,000 should not be
imposed because its violations are not as significant as
those of stations which have never had main studios or
EAS equipment. Blue Skies also argues that payment of
the proposed forfeiture amount of $15,000 would be a
6. On March 4 and July 11, 2003, agents from the San Diego
office traveled to Escondido, California, to determine
whether station KSKT-CA has a main studio at 2230 Micro
Place. On both occasions, the agents found that there
is no main studio at that location.
7. The forfeiture amount in this case was assessed in
accordance with Section 503(b) of the Communications Act
of 1934, as amended (``Act''),4 Section 1.80 of the
Rules,5 and The Commission's Forfeiture Policy Statement
and Amendment of Section 1.80 of the Rules to
Incorporate the Forfeiture Guidelines, 12 FCC Rcd 17087
(1997), recon. denied, 15 FCC Rcd 303 (1999) (``Policy
Statement''). In examining Blue Skies's response,
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.6
8. Section 11.35(a) of the Rules requires that broadcast
stations have operational EAS equipment. Section
73.1125(c) of the Rules requires that broadcast stations
maintain a main studio within the station's predicted
Grade B contour. On the basis of the FCC agents'
investigation and Blue Skies' admissions, we conclude
that Blue Skies violated Sections 11.35(a) and
73.1125(c) of the Rules. In view of Blue Skies'
statement that it closed its main studio for financial
reasons and removed its EAS equipment from service at
the same time, we find that Blue Skies' violations of
Sections 11.35(a) and 73.1125(c) of the Rules were
9. Blue Skies argues that the full forfeiture amount of
$15,000 should not be imposed because its violations are
not as significant as those of stations which never had
main studios or EAS equipment. Blue Skies' deliberately
closed its main studio and removed its EAS equipment
from service. The main studio violation has continued
for more than 18 months following the closure and is
still uncorrected (as of July 11, 2003). Blue Skies did
not take any steps to make its EAS equipment fully
operational until after our inspection of its station
facilities. The fact that there may be licensees whose
violations are even more significant than Blue Skies'
violations does not mitigate the seriousness of Blue
10. To the extent that Blue Skies now has operable EAS
equipment, no mitigation is warranted on the basis of
its correction of the violation. As the Commission
stated in Seawest Yacht Brokers, 9 FCC Rcd 6099, 6099
(1994), ``corrective action taken to come into
compliance with Commission rules or policy is expected,
and does not nullify or mitigate any prior forfeitures
11. Blue Skies also contends that payment of the proposed
forfeiture amount of $15,000 would be a financial
hardship. In support of this contention, Blue Skies
submits copies of its 2000 and 2001 federal income tax
returns and other information. Upon review of this
financial documentation, we conclude that the forfeiture
amount should be reduced to $1,800.
12. We have examined Blue Skies' response to the NAL
pursuant to the statutory factors above, and in
conjunction with the Policy Statement as well. As a
result of our review, we conclude that Blue Skies
willfully violated Sections 11.35(a) and 73.1125(c) of
the Rules. We find that, while there is no basis for
cancellation of the proposed monetary forfeiture, a
reduction to $1,800 is warranted on the basis of
13. The agents' investigation on July 11, 2003, indicates
that, as of that date, Blue Skies still had no main
studio and, therefore, continued to violate Section
73.1125(c) of the Rules even after issuance of the NAL
and Blue Skies' promise to ``arrange'' to have a main
studio. Accordingly, we will require, pursuant to
Section 308(b) of the Act,9 that Blue Skies report to
the Enforcement Bureau within thirty (30) days of the
release of this Order whether it has established a main
studio as it claims it plans to do in its response to
the NAL. If the report indicates that Blue Skies has a
main studio, it must specify the main studio's location
and telephone number. Blue Skies' report must be
submitted in the form of an affidavit signed by an
officer or director of the licensee. If Blue Skies
fails to submit such a report or we find that Blue Skies
has not come into compliance with our main studio rule,
we will consider further appropriate enforcement action.
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES
14. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to Section
503(b) of the Act, and Sections 0.111, 0.311 and
1.80(f)(4) of the Rules,10 Blue Skies IS LIABLE FOR A
MONETARY FORFEITURE in the amount of one thousand
dollars eight hundred ($1,800) for failure to have
operational EAS equipment installed and failure to have
a main studio within the station's predicted Grade B
contour, in willful violation of Sections 11.35(a) and
73.1125(c) of the Rules.
15. IT IS ALSO ORDERED that, pursuant Section 308(b) of the
Act, Blue Skies must submit the report described in
Paragraph 13, above, within 30 days from the release of
this Order, to Federal Communications Commission,
Enforcement Bureau, Spectrum Enforcement Division, 445
12th Street, S.W., Room 7-A 820, Washington, D.C.
16. Payment of the forfeiture shall be made in the manner
provided for in Section 1.80 of the Rules within 30 days
of the release of this Order. If the forfeiture is not
paid within the period specified, the case may be
referred to the Department of Justice for collection
pursuant to Section 504(a) of the Act.11 Payment may be
made 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
reference NAL/Acct. No. 200232940006 and FRN 0003-7774-
06. Requests for full payment under an installment plan
should be sent to: Chief, Revenue and Receivables Group,
445 12th Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20554.12
17. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that copies of this Order shall
be sent by Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested and
by First Class Mail to Blue Skies Broadcasting
Corporation, 5220 Campo Road Woodland Hills, CA 91364,
and to its counsel, Peter Tannenwald, Esq., Irwin,
Campbell & Tannenwald, P.C., 1730 Rhode Island Avenue,
N.W., Suite 200, Washington, D.C. 20036.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
David H. Solomon
Chief, Enforcement Bureau
1 47 C.F.R. §§ 11.35(a) and 73.1125(c).
2 The NAL also alleged a violation of 47 C.F.R. § 11.61. We
will not address this allegation in this Forfeiture Order,
because the NAL did not specify a forfeiture amount for violation
of Section 11.61.
3 Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, NAL/Acct. No.
200232940006 (Enf. Bur., San Diego Office, released July 31,
4 47 U.S.C. § 503(b).
5 47 C.F.R. § 1.80.
6 47 U.S.C. § 503(b)(2)(D).
7 See,eg., Cornbelt Broadcasting Co., 18 FCC Rcd 6336 (Enf.
Bur. 2003); and Banjo Communications Group, Inc., 17 FCC Rcd
26101(Enf. Bur. 2002).
8 See also Callais Cablevision, Inc., 17 FCC Rcd 22626, 22629
(2002); Radio Station KGVL, Inc., 42 FCC 2d 258, 259 (1973); and
Executive Broadcasting Corp., 3 FCC 2d 699, 700 (1966).
9 47 U.S.C. § 308(b)
10 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.111, 0.311, 1.80(f)(4).
11 47 U.S.C. § 504(a).
12 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.1914.