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Abacus Television

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Released: October 30, 2013

Federal Communications Commission

DA 13-2075

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of:
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)
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Abacus Television
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FRN: 0008390981
Licensee of Station WJKF-CA
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NAL/Acct. No. 201341420019
Jacksonville, Florida
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Facility ID No. 4754
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FORFEITURE ORDER

Adopted: October 29, 2013

Released: October 30, 2013

By the Chief, Video Division, Media Bureau:

I. INTRODUCTION

1.
In this Forfeiture Order, issued pursuant to Sections 0.61(f)(1) and 1.80(a)(1) and (2)
of the Commission’s rules,1 we find that Abacus Television, licensee of Station WJKF-CA,
repeatedly violated Section 73.3526(e)(11)(iii) by failing to file timely with the Commission the
Station’s Children’s Television Programming Reports. Based on our review of the facts and
circumstances, we find the Licensee liable for a forfeiture of Four Thousand Five Hundred
Dollars ($4,500).

II. BACKGROUND

2.
The Video Division issued a Notice of Apparent Liability (“NAL”) for Forfeiture on
June 21, 2013.2 The NAL notified the Licensee that the station’s failure to file its Children’s
Television Programming Reports in a timely manner constituted apparent willful or repeated
violations of Section 73.3526(e)(11)(iii) of the Commission’s Rules.3 The Division concluded that
the Licensee was apparently liable for a forfeiture of $9,000.
3.
In a timely response dated July 22, 2013, the Licensee requested that the proposed
forfeitures be reduced.4

III. DISCUSSION

4.
The Commission is authorized to license radio and television broadcast stations and
is responsible for enforcing the Commission’s rules and applicable statutory provisions
concerning the operation of those stations. Under section 503(b)(1) of the Act, any person who is
determined by the Commission to have willfully or repeatedly failed to comply with any
provision of the Act or any rule, regulation, or order issued by the Commission shall be liable to


1 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.61(f)(1), 1.80(a)(1) & (2).
2 Abacus Television, Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, DA 13-1417 (June 21, 2013).
3 47 C.F.R. § 73.3526(e)(11)(i).
4 Licensee Response to Notice of Apparent Liability (“Licensee Response”) (Jul. 22, 2013).

Federal Communications Commission DA 13-2075

the United States for a forfeiture penalty.5
In order to impose a forfeiture penalty, the
Commission must issue a notice of apparent liability, the notice must be received, and the person
against whom the notice has been issued must have an opportunity to show, in writing, why no
such penalty should be imposed.6 The Commission will then issue a forfeiture order if it finds by
a preponderance of the evidence that the person has violated the Act or a Commission rule.7 As
we set forth in greater detail below, we conclude that the Licensee is liable for a forfeiture for
repeated violations of Section 73.3526(e)(11)(iii) of the Commission’s rules. We ultimately
conclude that the forfeiture amount should be reduced from $9,000 to $4,500.
5.
The Community Broadcasters Protection Act requires that Class A television stations
comply with all rules applicable to full-power television stations except for those rules that could
not apply for technical or other reasons.8 The Commission rules establish that Class A licensees
must (i) offer informational and educational children’s programming; (ii) prepare and place in a
public inspection file quarterly Children’s Television Programming Reports; and (iii) electronically
file those reports with the Commission.9 Moreover, each Class A television station must prepare
and place in its public inspection file on a quarterly basis an issues/programs list demonstrating
that the station aired programming that meets the needs and interests of its community of license10
and must upload the issues/programs lists to the Commission’s website.11
6.
Commission policy establishes a base forfeiture amount of $3,000 for failure to file a
required form.12 In determining the appropriate forfeiture amount, the Commission may adjust the
base amount upward or downward by considering the factors in Section 503(b)(2)(E), 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 such other
matters as justice may require.” In the NAL, the Commission proposed a forfeiture amount of
$9,000.
7.
The Licensee does not dispute that it failed file certain Children’s Television


5 47 U.S.C. § 503(b)(1) (A) & (B); 47 C.F.R. § 1.80(a)(1) & (2). The Commission may assess a forfeiture
order for violations that are merely repeated, and not willful. See, e.g., Callais Cablevision, Inc., Grand Isle,
Louisiana
, Notice of Apparent Liability for Monetary Forfeiture, 16 FCC Rcd 1359, 1362, (2001) (issuing a
Notice of Apparent Liability for a cable television operator’s repeated violations of the Commission’s signal
leakage rules). “Repeated” means that the act was committed or omitted more than once. Southern
California Broadcasting Co.,
Memorandum Opinion and Order, 6 FCC Rcd 4387, 4388 (1991).
6 47 U.S.C. § 503(b); 47 C.F.R. § 1.80(f).
7 See, e.g., SBC Communications, Inc., Forfeiture Order, 17 FCC Rcd 7589, 7591 (2002).
8 Community Broadcasters Protection Act of 1999, Pub. L. No. 106-113, 113 Stat. Appendix I at pp. 1501A-
594-1501A-598 (1999), codified at 47 U.S.C. § 336(f).
9 Establishment of a Class A Television Service, MM Docket No. 00-10, Report and Order, 15 FCC Rcd 6355,
6366 (2000); 47 C.F.R. § 73.3526 (a)(2) & (e)(11)(iii).
10 47 C.F.R. § 73.3526(e)(11)(i).
11 Standardized and Enhanced Disclosure Requirements for Television Broadcast Licensee Public Interest
Obligations
, Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 4568-69; 47 C.F.R. § 73.3526(b)(2); and § 73.3526(e)(17).
12 See Forfeiture Policy Statement and Amendment of Section 1.80(b) of the Rules to Incorporate the
Forfeiture Guidelines,
Report and Order, 12 FCC Rcd 17087, 17113-15 (1997), recon. denied, 15 FCC Rcd
303 (1999); 47 C.F.R. § 1.80(b)(4).
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Federal Communications Commission DA 13-2075

Programming Reports with the Commission in a timely manner as described in the NAL.13 These
deficiencies, regardless of the cause, constitute repeated violations of the relevant Commission
rules.
8.
Licensee argues that it cannot afford to pay the forfeiture.14 The Commission will
not consider reducing or canceling a forfeiture in response to a claimed inability to pay unless the
licensee 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 licensee’s current financial
status. Typically, the Commission uses gross revenue as the primary measuring stick by which it
evaluates a licensee’s ability to pay.15 Here, the Licensee provided financial documentation in an
effort to support its argument that it cannot pay the forfeiture amount.16
9.
In the NAL, the Video Division proposed a forfeiture amount of $9,000. The
Commission exercises its discretion here to reduce the proposed forfeiture amount from
$9,000.00 to $4,500. We reduce the forfeiture because the Licensee has demonstrated through
the submission of financial documentation that the proposed forfeiture amount would cause
financial hardship to the station.17 We therefore conclude that a reduction in the forfeiture
amount is appropriate.18

IV. ORDERING CLAUSES

10.
ACCORDINGLY, IT IS ORDERED THAT, pursuant to section 503(b) of the
Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and Sections 0.61(f)(1) and 1.80(a)(1)&(2) of the
Commission’s rules,19 Abacus Television SHALL FORFEIT to the United States the sum of four
thousand five hundred dollars ($4,500) for repeatedly violating 47 C.F.R. 73.3526(e)(11)(iii).
11.
In the event that the Licensee wishes to revert WJKF-CA to low power television
status, the Licensee need only notify us of this election and request a change in status for the
station.20 Should the Licensee revert the station to low power status, the Licensee would no
longer be liable for the forfeiture amount described herein.
12.
Payment of the forfeiture shall be made in the manner provided for in Section 1.80
(h) of the Commission’s rules within thirty (30) calendar days after the release date of this


13 The Licensee did provide evidence that two of the 14 reports identified in the station’s public file as being
late were in fact timely filed. Licensee Response at 3-4. We accept this evidence as persuasive that the two
reports identified were timely filed but conclude that no reduction in the proposed forfeiture amount is
appropriate based on this showing, as 12 of the 17 reports filed during the license period were in fact late.
14 Id. at 4.
15 San Jose State University, Memorandum Opinion and Order, 26 FCC Rcd 5908 (2011).
16 The Licensee submitted tax returns and financial records for 2010-2012. Licensee Response; Licensee
Supplemental Response. The Licensee further requested that the returns be treated as confidential pursuant to
Section 0.457(d)(2) of the Commission’s Rules.
17 Licensee Response at 2-3.
18 Hoosier Broadcasting Corporation, Memorandum Opinion and Order, 15 FCC Rcd 8640, 8641 (EB 2002).
19 47 U.S.C. § 503(b); 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.61(f)(1) & 1.80(a)(1)&(2).
20 47 C.F.R. § 73.6001(d).
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Federal Communications Commission DA 13-2075

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 Communications Act of 1934, as amended. The Licensee shall send electronic notification of
the payment to Peter Saharko at peter.saharko@fcc.gov on the date payment is made.
13.
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 FCC Form 159, enter the Account Number in block number 23A (call sign/other ID)
and enter the “FORF” in block number 24A (payment type code). 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.
14.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT a copy of this FORFEITURE ORDER shall
be sent by Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested to Abacus Television c/o Benjamin Perez,
514 Chautauqua Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 15124-3509.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Barbara A. Kreisman
Chief, Video Division
Media Bureau
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