FCC Record, Volume 27, No. 11, Pages 8850 to 9847, July 30 - August 17, 2012 Page: 8,920
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Federal Communications Commission
herein propose separate base forfeiture amounts for Emigrant's violations--$10,000 for Emigrant's
continued operation of station WPKM212 without Commission authority and $3,000 for Emigrant's
failure to file the renewal application for its station within the time period specified in Section 1.949(a) of
the Rules, for a total base forfeiture of $13,000.
9. Given the totality of the circumstances, and consistent with the Forfeiture Policy
Statement, we conclude that a significant upward adjustment of the base forfeiture is warranted. In this
regard, we are particularly mindful that Emigrant's apparent unlawful operation continued for more than
nine years-from April 15, 2002, the date that the license for station WPKM212 expired, until August 3,
2011, the date that Emigrant's STA was granted.26 In fact, the period of unauthorized operation was
nearly twice the length of the initial license term. As the Commission has emphasized, "[a]ll licensees are
responsible for knowing the terms of their licenses and for filing a timely renewal application if they seek
to operate beyond that term."27 In addition, we decline to downward adjust the forfeiture based on
Emigrant's claims that the violation resulted from "oversight" and a change in personnel.28 Consistent
with longstanding precedent, Emigrant's lack of knowledge or erroneous belief does not warrant a
downward adjustment of the forfeiture.29 We note, however, that the severity of the apparent violations is
26 In the past, the Commission has upwardly adjusted the base forfeiture in cases where the unauthorized operation
continued for an extended period of time. See BASF Corporation, 25 FCC Rcd at 17303, para. 1 1 (five years of
unauthorized operation); Shubat Transportation Company, Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, 26 FCC Rcd
3782, 3786, para. 13 (Enf. Bur. 2011) (six years of unauthorized operation); Call Mobile, 26 FCC Rcd at 77, para.
12 (two and a half years of unauthorized operation). In a recent decision, however, one of the Bureau's
divisions addressed an apparent violation of Section 301 of Act involving an extended period of unauthorized
operation by proposing a limited upward adjustment. See Harrah 's Atlantic City Operating Co., Notice of Apparent
Liability for Forfeiture, 26 FCC Rcd. 5153 (Enf. Bur., Northeast Region 2011) (Harrah 's). On reflection, we
believe that the forfeiture penalty proposed in Harrah 's was unduly low in light of the nearly ten years of continuous
unauthorized operation and other circumstances in the case. See 47 U.S.C. 503(b)(2)E); 47 C.F.R. 1.80(b)(5)
(listing circumstances and extent of a violation as factors in assessing a forfeiture). The relative duration of a
violation is a critical factor; for example, we generally would propose a substantially higher forfeiture for a violation
lasting nearly a decade than for a violation lasting for two months. In doing so, we avoid creating
perverse incentives and encourage PLMRS and other licensees to monitor their license expiration dates and to
timely seek renewal or otherwise take appropriate steps to quickly come into compliance with FCC rules. See BASF
Corporation, 25 FCC Rcd at 17303, para. 10 (noting that reduced forfeiture amounts applied in past cases do not
appear to be creating sufficient incentives for all PLMRS licensees to comply).
27 See Biennial Regulatory Review - Amendment of Parts 0, 1, 13, 22, 24, 26, 27, 80, 87, 90, 95, 97, and 101 of the
Commission's Rules to Facilitate the Development and Use of the Universal Licensing System in the Wireless
Telecommunications Services, 13 FCC Red 21027, 21071, para. 96 (1998) (noting that the renewal reminder letter is
a "convenience to licensees [and] does not in any way absolve licensees from timely filing their renewal
applications"). As a result, Emigrant's assertion that it did not receive the courtesy renewal reminder does not
mitigate its apparent violation. See LOI Response.
28 See supra note 12 and accompanying text.
29 See, e.g., Profit Enterprises, Inc., Forfeiture Order, 8 FCC Rcd 2846, 2846, para. 5 (1993) (denying the mitigation
claim of a manufacturer/distributor who thought that the equipment certification and marketing requirements were
inapplicable, stating that its "prior knowledge or understanding of the law is unnecessary to a determination of
whether a violation existed ... ignorance of the law is [not] a mitigating factor"); Lakewood Broad. Serv., Inc.,
Memorandum Opinion and Order, 37 FCC 2d 437, 438, para. 6 (1972) (denying a mitigation claim of a broadcast
licensee who asserted an unfamiliarity with the station identification requirements, stating that licensees are
expected "to know and conform their conduct to the requirements of our rules"); Kenneth Paul Harris, Sr., Notice of
Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, 15 FCC Rcd 12933, 12935, para. 7 (Enf. Bur. 2000) (denying a mitigation claim
of a broadcast licensee, stating that its ignorance of the law did not excuse the unauthorized transfer of the station);
Maxwell Broad Group, Inc., Memorandum Opinion and Order, 8 FCC Red 784, 784, para. 2 (Mass Med. Bur.
1993) (denying a mitigation claim of a noncommercial broadcast licensee, stating that the excuse of "inadverten[ce],
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United States. Federal Communications Commission. FCC Record, Volume 27, No. 11, Pages 8850 to 9847, July 30 - August 17, 2012, book, August 2012; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc133015/m1/87/: accessed April 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.