Skip Navigation

Federal Communications Commission

English Display Options

Commission Document

SPOKANE PUBLIC RADIO, INC

Download Options

Released: February 17, 2010

Federal Communications Commission

DA 10-261

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of
)
)

NAL/Acct. No. MB-200741410160

Spokane Public Radio, Inc.

)
FRN: 0003230208
)
Licensee of FM Translator Stations
)
K220BW
)
Facility ID No. 61935
Kellogg, Idaho
)
File No. BRFT-20050801DDN
)
K269DU
)
Facility ID No. 61940
Sandpoint, Idaho
)
File No. BRFT-20050801DDO
)
and
)
)

K220BX
)
Facility ID No. 61938
Coeur D’Alene, Idaho
)
File No. BRFT-20050801DDP

FORFEITURE ORDER

Adopted: February 16, 2010

Released: February 17, 2010

By the Chief, Audio Division, Media Bureau:

I.

INTRODUCTION

1.
In this Forfeiture Order we issue a monetary forfeiture in the amount of seven hundred
and fifty dollars ($750) to Spokane Public Radio, Inc. (“Spokane”), licensee of FM translator stations
K220BW, Kellogg, Idaho; K269DU, Sandpoint, Idaho; and K220BX, Coeur D’Alene, Idaho
(collectively, “Stations”), for its willful violation of Section 73.3539 of the Commission’s Rules
(“Rules”)1 by failing to timely file license renewal applications for the Stations.

II.

BACKGROUND

2.
On February 15, 2007, the Bureau issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture
(“NAL”) in the amount of four thousand, five hundred dollars ($4,500) to Spokane for these violations.2
In response to the NAL, Spokane submitted a response (“Response”) on March 19, 2007.
3.
As noted in the NAL, Spokane’s renewal applications for the Stations’ current license
term were due on June 1, 2005, four months prior to the October 1, 2005, expiration date.3 Spokane did
not file the applications until August 1, 2005. It explained that although the translators are licensed to
communities in Idaho, the primary station which they all carry, KPBX(FM), is located in Spokane,
Washington, apparently believing that the renewal application filing deadline for KPBX(FM) would also


1 47 C.F.R. § 73.3539.
2 Spokane Public Radio, Inc., Memorandum Opinion and Order and Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, 22
FCC Rcd 3200 (MB 2007).
3 See 47 C.F.R. §§ 73.1020, 73.3539(a).

Federal Communications Commission

DA 10-261

apply to the Stations. Spokane states that its failure to timely file the renewal applications was
unintentional and caused by its misunderstanding of allegedly ambiguous text in the renewal application
Form 303-S and instructions. Therefore, it argues, the forfeiture should be cancelled.

III.

DISCUSSION

4.
The forfeiture amount proposed in this case was assessed in accordance with Section
503(b) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (the “Act”),4 Section 1.80 of the Rules,5 and the
Commission’s Forfeiture Policy Statement.6 In assessing forfeitures, Section 503(b)(2)(E) of the Act
requires that we 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 such
other matters as justice may require.7
5.
Spokane does not dispute that it failed to file timely renewal applications for the Stations,
but states that the violation was unintentional. Specifically, it asserts that its staff misunderstood and
misinterpreted text that it found “ambiguous” in Form 303-S and the accompanying instructions.8
According to Spokane, its confusion centered around Section I, Item 6b of Form 303-S, which states,
“Does this application include one or more FM translator station(s) … in addition to the station listed in
Section 1? (The callsign(s) of any associated FM translators … will be requested in Section V).”9
Spokane furthers cites the Form 303-S Instructions for Item 6b, which state:
If the applicant seeks the joint renewal for an FM or TV translator, or LPTV station and its co-
owned primary FM, TV, or LPTV station, that applicant should indicate “Yes” to Item 6b, and
skip directly to Item 7. The applicant should provide information with regard to such translator
station for which renewal is sought in response to Section V below.10
Spokane states that this language suggests that translator license renewals should be filed jointly
with that of the primary station that is rebroadcast. It maintains that it “is nowhere stated that these
instructions only apply if the translator and the full service station are in the same state . . . .”11 In further
support of its argument, Spokane cites to the following language from the Commission order (“Renewal
Order
”) revising Form 303-S and consolidating renewal cycles: “These form revisions will permit
translator stations co-owned with primary stations in the same state which rebroadcast the same signal as
the primary station to file for license renewal on a single application form with their primary station.”12


4 47 U.S.C. § 503(b).
5 47 C.F.R. § 1.80.
6 The Commission’s Forfeiture Policy Statement and Amendment of Section 1.80 of the Rules to Incorporate the
Forfeiture Guidelines
, Report and Order, 12 FCC Rcd 17087 (1997), recon. denied, 15 FCC Rcd 303 (1999).
7 47 U.S.C. § 503(b)(2)(E).
8 Response at 2.
9 Id.
10 Id.
11 Id. at 4.
12 Id. at 7, citing Modifying Renewal Dates for Certain Stations Licensed Under Part 74 of the Commission’s Rules
and Revising FCC Form 303-S
, Report and Order, (“Renewal Order”) 9 FCC Rcd 6504, 6504 (1994).
2

Federal Communications Commission

DA 10-261

Spokane maintains that this language indicates that the Commission “simply overlooked” situations in
which the primary station and its associated translators are not located within the same state.13
6. We reject Spokane’s assertion that the Form 303-S and instructions are ambiguous. Indeed,
the Renewal Order cited by Spokane is explicit that only licensees who operate translator stations “in the
same state” as the primary station may file using a single renewal application.14 It follows then that
translators in other states with different renewal cycles must file renewal applications separately from the
primary station.15
7. Moreover, as the Commission has held, violations resulting from inadvertent error or failure
to become familiar with the FCC's requirements are willful violations.16 In the context of a forfeiture
action, “willful” does not require a finding that the rule violation was intentional. Rather, the term
“willful” means that the violator knew that it was taking (or, in this case, not taking) the action in
question, irrespective of any intent to violate the Rules.17
8.
We have considered Spokane’s Response and the record of this case in light of the above
statutory factors, our Rules, and the Forfeiture Policy Statement. We conclude that Spokane willfully18
violated Section 73.3539 of the Rules. However, in light of the Commission’s recent decisions assessing
forfeitures in the amount of $250 against licensees of translator stations for violations of Section 73.3539
of the Rules, we reduce the forfeiture amount sua sponte to $250 for each FM translator station, totaling
$750.19


13 Response at 7-8.
14 See Renewal Order, 9 FCC Rcd 6504 at ¶ 1 and n 10. See also 47 C.F.R. § 73.1020(a)(13)(i) and (a)(15)(i)
(establishing different timing for stations in Idaho than for stations in Washington).
15 Id. Item 6b and the instructions pertinent to that item in FCC Form 303-S merely acknowledge the possibility of a
joint filing (“If the applicant seeks a joint renewal for an FM or TV translator . . . and its co-owned primary . . .
station . . ..”). The form does not address the issue of when a joint filing is allowed or is not allowed.
16 See PJB Communications of Virginia, Inc., Memorandum Opinion and Order, 7 FCC Rcd 2088, 2088 (1992);
Southern California Broadcasting Co., Memorandum Opinion and Order, 6 FCC Rcd 4387, 4387 (1991), recon.
denied,
7 FCC Rcd 3454 (1992) (“Southern California”) (stating that “inadvertence … is at best, ignorance of the
law, which the Commission does not consider a mitigating circumstance”); Standard Communications Corp.,
Memorandum Opinion and Order, 1 FCC Rcd 358, 358 (1986) (stating that “employee acts or omissions, such as
clerical errors in failing to file required forms, do not excuse violations”).
17 See Five Star Parking d/b/a Five Star Taxi Dispatch, Forfeiture Order, 23 FCC Rcd 2649 (EB 2008) (declining to
reduce or cancel forfeiture for late-filed renewal based on licensee’s administrative error); Southern California, 6
FCC Rcd at 4387. See also Domtar Industries, Inc., Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, 21 FCC Rcd 13811,
13815 (EB 2006); National Weather Networks, Inc., Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, 21 FCC Rcd 3922,
3925 (EB 2006).
18 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. 47 U.S.C. § 312(f)(1). The legislative history of Section 312(f)(1)
of the Act clarifies that this definition of willful applies to Sections 312 and 503(b) of the Act, H.R. REP. No. 97-
765, 51 (Conf. Rep.), and the Commission has so interpreted the terms in the Section 503(b) context. See Southern
California
, 6 FCC Rcd at 4387-88.
19 See, e.g., Valley Baptist Church and Christian School, Forfeiture Order, 23 FCC Rcd 8740 (MB 2008) (reducing
sua sponte forfeiture amount from $1,500 to $250 for translator station’s late renewal filing); Good News Translator
Assoc
., Memorandum Opinion and Order and Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, 22 FCC Rcd 20922 (MB
2007) (finding translator licensee apparently liable for monetary forfeiture in the amount of $250 for its willful
violation of Section 73.3539 of the Rules); Bible Broadcasting Network, Inc., Memorandum Opinion and Order and
Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, 22 FCC Rcd 11445 (MB 2007) (same).
3

Federal Communications Commission

DA 10-261

IV.

ORDERING CLAUSES

9.
Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED, pursuant to Section 503(b) of the Communications Act
of 1934, as amended, and Sections 0.283 and 1.80 of the Commission’s Rules,20 that Spokane Public
Radio, Inc. SHALL FORFEIT to the United States the sum of seven hundred and fifty dollars ($750) for
willfully violating Section 73.3539 of the Commission’s Rules.
10.
Payment of the forfeiture shall be made in the manner provided for in Section 1.80 of the
Commission's Rules within 30 days of the release of this Forfeiture 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.21 Payment of the 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).22
11. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, that a copy of this Forfeiture Order shall be sent by Certified
Mail Return Receipt Requested and by First Class Mail to Spokane Public Radio, Inc., c/o Richard
Kunkel, 2319 N. Monroe Street, Spokane, WA 99205, and its counsel, Ernest T. Sanchez, The Sanchez
Law Firm, 2300 M Street, N.W., Suite 800, Washington, D.C. 20037.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Peter H. Doyle
Chief, Audio Division
Media Bureau


20 47 U.S.C. § 503(b); 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.283, 1.80.
21 47 U.S.C. § 504(a).
22 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.1914.
4

Note: We are currently transitioning our documents into web compatible formats for easier reading. We have done our best to supply this content to you in a presentable form, but there may be some formatting issues while we improve the technology. The original version of the document is available as a PDF, Word Document, or as plain text.

close
FCC

You are leaving the FCC website

You are about to leave the FCC website and visit a third-party, non-governmental website that the FCC does not maintain or control. The FCC does not endorse any product or service, and is not responsible for, nor can it guarantee the validity or timeliness of the content on the page you are about to visit. Additionally, the privacy policies of this third-party page may differ from those of the FCC.