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Belo TV, Inc.

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Released: March 7, 2012

Federal Communications Commission

DA 12-348

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of
)
)

Belo TV, Inc.
)
Facility I.D. No. 70419
Licensee of Station WBXN-CA
)
NAL/Acct. No. 201241420003
New Orleans, Louisiana
)
FRN: 0020240594

NOTICE OF APPARENT

LIABILITY FOR FORFEITURE

Adopted: March 2, 2012

Released: March 7, 2012

By the Chief, Video Division, Media Bureau:

I. INTRODUCTION

1. In this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (“NAL”),1 we find that Belo TV, Inc. (the
“Licensee”), licensee of Class A television station WBXN-CA, New Orleans, Louisiana (the “Station”),
apparently willfully and repeatedly violated Section 73.3526(e)(11)(iii) of the Rules, by failing to file
with the Commission, and place in the Station’s public inspection file, the Station’s Children’s Television
Programming Reports.2 Based upon our review of the facts and circumstances before us, we conclude
that the Licensee is apparently liable for a monetary forfeiture in the amount of thirteen thousand dollars
($13,000).

II.

BACKGROUND

2.
Section 73.3526 of the Rules requires each commercial broadcast licensee to maintain a
public inspection file containing specific types of information related to station operations.3 As set forth
in subsection 73.3526(e)(11)(iii), each commercial television licensee is required to prepare and place in
its public inspection file a Children’s Television Programming Report (FCC Form 398) for each calendar
quarter reflecting, inter alia, the efforts that it made during that quarter to serve the educational and
informational needs of children. That subsection also requires licensees to file the reports with the
Commission and to publicize for the public the existence and location of the reports. Where lapses occur
in maintaining the public file, neither the negligent acts nor omissions of station employees or agents, nor
the subsequent remedial actions undertaken by the licensee, excuse or nullify the licensee’s rule


1 This NAL is issued pursuant to Section 503(b) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (the “Act”), and
Section 1.80 of the Commission’s Rules (the “Rules”). See 47 U.S.C. § 503(b); 47 C.F.R. § 1.80. The Chief, Video
Division, Media Bureau, has delegated authority to issue the NAL under Section 0.283 of the Rules. See 47 C.F.R. §
0.283
2 See 47 C.F.R. § 73.3526(e)(11)(iii).
3 47 C.F.R. § 73.3526.

Federal Communications Commission

DA 12-348

violation.4
3.
On March 23, 2011, the Chief, Video Division, Media Bureau, issued a letter to the
Licensee (“Letter”), stating that Commission records indicated that Belo TV, Inc. failed to make the
required Form 398 electronic filings for WBXN-CA for all four quarters in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010.
The Letter required the Licensee to provide information, supported by the declaration of a person with
personal knowledge,5 identifying the quarters in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010 for which a Children’s
Television Programming Report was prepared and placed in the Station’s public inspection file, and the
location of the file. The Letter further required that this information be filed within 30 days, and stated
that failure to provide the requested information, or to notify the staff that the Licensee was electing to let
the Station revert to low power television status, would result in the institution of a forfeiture proceeding
and/or loss of Class A television status.
4.
On April 15, 2011, the Licensee filed a Response to the Letter, acknowledging that it
inadvertently failed to prepare and file Children’s Television Programming Reports for the second, third
and fourth quarters of 2007, and for all four quarters of 2008, 2009 and 2010.6 The Licensee explained
that WBXN-CA retransmits the programming of co-owned television station WUPL, Slidell, Louisiana,
and that in focusing on the preparation and filing of Children’s Television Programming Reports for
WUPL, it neglected to file reports for WBXN-CA. The Licensee indicated that all of the required reports
for WBXN-CA were filed with the Commission and placed in the Station’s public inspection file on April
11, 2011. In addition, the Licensee stated that it has implemented procedural safeguards to ensure that,
going forward, all Forms 398 for WBXN-CA are timely prepared and filed.

III. DISCUSSION

5.
The Licensee’s failure to file the Children’s Television Programming Reports for
WBXN-CA with the Commission and place such reports in the Station’s public inspection file constitutes
an apparent willful and repeated violation of Section 73.3526(e)(11)(iii). Although the Licensee
essentially argues that the violations resulted from inadvertence, the Commission has repeatedly rejected
human error and inadvertence as a basis for excusing a licensee’s rule violation.7 Furthermore, corrective
actions may have been taken to prevent subsequent violations of the children’s television rules and
policies, but that too, does not relieve the Licensee of liability for the violations which have occurred.8


4 See Padre Serra Communications, Inc., 14 FCC Rcd 9709 (MMB 1999) (citing Gaffney Broadcasting, Inc., 23
FCC 2d 912, 913 (1970) and Eleven Ten Broadcasting Corp., 33 FCC 706 (1962)); Surrey Front Range Limited
Partnership
, 7 FCC Rcd 6361 (FOB 1992).
5 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.16.
6 The Licensee states that it acquired WBXN-CA on April 20, 2007, and, therefore, was not responsible for
preparing a Form 398 for the first quarter of 2007.
7 See PJB Communications of Virginia, Inc., 7 FCC Rcd 2088 (1992); Southern California Broadcasting Co., 6 FCC
Rcd 4387, 4387 (1991), recon. denied, 7 FCC Rcd 3454 (1992) (“Inadvertence ... is at best, ignorance of the law,
which the Commission does not consider a mitigating circumstance.”); Standard Communications Corp., 1 FCC
Rcd 358 (1986) ( “Employee acts or omissions, such as clerical errors in failing to file required forms, do not excuse
violations.”)
8 See, e.g., Sage Broadcasting Corporation, 23 FCC Rcd 8160, 8162 (Vid. Div. 2008); HP Television, L.P., 10 FCC
Rcd 4979, 4980 (MMB 1995); Mountain States Broadcasting, Inc., 9 FCC Rcd 2545, 2546 (MMB 1994).
2

Federal Communications Commission

DA 12-348

6.
This NAL is issued pursuant to Section 503(b)(1)(B) of the Act. Under that provision, 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 the
United States for a forfeiture penalty.9 Section 312(f)(1) of the Act defines willful as “the conscious and
deliberate commission or omission of [any] act, irrespective of any intent to violate” the law.10 The
legislative history to Section 312(f)(1) of the Act clarifies that this definition of willful applies to both
Sections 312 and 503(b) of the Act,11 and the Commission has so interpreted the term in the Section
503(b) context.12 Section 312(f)(2) of the Act provides that “[t]he term ‘repeated,’ when used with
reference to the commission or omission of any act, means the commission or omission of such act more
than once or, if such commission or omission is continuous, for more than one day.”13
7.
The Commission’s Forfeiture Policy Statement and Section 1.80(b)(4) of the Rules
establish a base forfeiture amount of $3,000 for failure to file a required form and a base forfeiture
amount of $10,000 for public file violations.14 In determining the appropriate forfeiture amount, we may
adjust the base amount upward or downward by considering the factors enumerated in Section
503(b)(2)(D) of the Act, including “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.”15
8.
In this case, the Licensee has acknowledged that it failed to file with the Commission and
place in the public inspection file Children’s Television Programming Reports for the second, third and
fourth quarters in 2007, and for all four quarters in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Based on the record before us,
we believe that forfeiture in the amount of $13,000 is appropriate for the Licensee’s apparent willful and
repeated violations of Section 73.3526(e)(11)(iii).

IV. ORDERING CLAUSES

9.
Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED, pursuant to Section 503(b) of the Communications Act
of 1934, as amended, and Section 1.80 of the Commission’s Rules, that Belo TV, Inc. is hereby
NOTIFIED of its APPARENT LIABILITY FOR FORFEITURE in the amount of thirteen thousand
dollars ($13,000) for its apparent willful and repeated violations of Section 73.3526 of the Commission’s
Rules.
10.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, pursuant to Section 1.80 of the Commission’s Rules, that,


9 47 U.S.C. § 503(b)(1)(B); see also 47 C.F.R. § 1.80(a)(1).
10 47 U.S.C. § 312(f)(1).
11 See H.R. Rep. No. 97-765, 97th Cong. 2d Sess. 51 (1982).
12 See Southern California Broadcasting Co., 6 FCC Rcd at 4388.
13 47 U.S.C. § 312(f)(2).
14 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) (“Forfeiture Policy Statement”), recon. denied,
15 FCC Rcd 303 (1999); 47 C.F.R. § 1.80(b)(4), note to paragraph (b)(4), Section I.
15 47 U.S.C. § 503(b)(2)(D); see also Forfeiture Policy Statement, 12 FCC Rcd at 17100-01; 47 C.F.R. § 1.80(b)(4)
and note to paragraph (b)(4), Section II.
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Federal Communications Commission

DA 12-348

within thirty (30) days of the release date of this NAL, Belo TV, Inc. SHALL PAY the full amount of the
proposed forfeiture or SHALL FILE a written statement seeking reduction or cancellation of the proposed
forfeiture.
11.
Payment of the proposed forfeiture must be made by check or similar instrument, payable
to the order of the Federal Communications Commission. The payment must include the NAL/Acct. No.
and FRN No. referenced in the caption above. Payment by check or money order may be mailed to
Federal Communications Commission, at P.O. Box 979088, St. Louis, MO 63197-9000. Payment by
overnight mail may be sent to U.S. Bank-Government Lockbox #979088, SL-MO-C2-GL, 1005
Convention Plaza, St. Louis, MO 63101. Payment by wire transfer may be made to ABA Number
021030004, receiving bank: TREAS NYC, BNF: FCC/ACV--27000001 and account number as expressed
on the remittance instrument. If completing the FCC Form 159, enter the NAL/Account number in block
number 23A (call sign/other ID), and enter the letters “FORF” in block number 24A (payment type code).
Licensee will also send electronic notification on the date said payment is made to
Shaleim.Henry@fcc.gov.
12.
The response, if any, must be mailed to Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications
Commission, 445 12th Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20554, ATTN: Barbara A. Kreisman, Chief,
Video Division, Media Bureau, and MUST INCLUDE the NAL/Acct. No. referenced above.
13.
The Commission will not consider reducing or canceling a forfeiture in response to a
claim of inability to pay unless the respondent 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
respondent’s current financial status. Any claim of inability to pay must specifically identify the basis for
the claim by reference to the financial documentation submitted.
14.
Requests for full payment of the forfeiture proposed in this NAL under the installment
plan should be sent to: Associate Managing Director- Financial Operations, 445 12th Street, S.W., Room
1-A625, Washington, D.C. 20554.16
15.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that copies of this NAL shall be sent, by First Class and
Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested, to Belo TV, Inc., 400 South Record Street, Dallas, Texas
75202, and to its counsel, John M. Burgett, Esquire, Wiley Rein, LLP, 1776 K Street, N.W., Washington,
D.C. 20006.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Barbara A. Kreisman
Chief, Video Division
Media Bureau


16 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.1914.
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