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Stephen R. Peters

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Released: May 1, 2013

Federal Communications Commission

DA 13-967


Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of
)
)
Stephen R. Peters
) File Number: EB-10-CF-153
) NAL/Acct. No. 201132340001
Former Licensee of FM Station WHAW
) FRN: 0004993507
Lost Creek, WV
) Facility ID # 63489
)

FORFEITURE ORDER

Adopted:

April 30, 2013

Released:

May 1, 2013
By the Regional Director, Northeast Region, Enforcement Bureau:

I.

INTRODUCTION

1.
In this Forfeiture Order, we issue a monetary forfeiture in the amount of ten thousand
dollars ($10,000) to Stephen R. Peters, former licensee of FM Station WHAW, Lost Creek, West Virginia
(Station),1 for willfully and repeatedly violating Section 73.3526(e)(12) of the Commission's rules (Rules)2
by failing to maintain and make available quarterly radio issues/programs lists in the local public inspection
file.

II.

BACKGROUND

2.
On August 24, 2010, an agent from the Enforcement Bureau’s Columbia Office
conducted a routine inspection during normal business hours at Station WHAW’s main studio, located at
300 Harrison Avenue in Weston, West Virginia, with Mr. Peters, who also serves as the Station's
manager. The agent reviewed the materials in the public inspection file and found that the file did not
contain any issues/programs lists for the current license term.3 Mr. Peters admitted to the agent that the
Station did not maintain issues/programs lists.
3.
On May 24, 2011, the Columbia Office issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for
Forfeiture (NAL) in the amount of $10,000 to Mr. Peters for failing to maintain and make available
quarterly radio issues/programs lists in the public inspection file.4 Mr. Peters responded to the NAL on June
9, 2011, asserting that he never stated that the Station did not maintain issues/programs lists and that the
NAL should be canceled on the grounds that (1) at the time of the inspection the issues/programs lists could


1 On October 2, 2012, the FCC granted the request to assign the license for Station WHAW from Stephen R. Peters to
Della Jane Woofter. See BAL-20120801ANP. The parties consummated the assignment on October 4, 2012.
2 See 47 C.F.R. § 73.3526(e)(12).
3 The current license term began on October 1, 2003 and the Station therefore was missing 26 quarterly
issues/programs lists. See BR-20030527ACZ, granted September 25, 2003.
4 Stephen R. Peters, Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, 26 FCC Rcd 7623 (Enf. Bur. 2011) (NAL).

Federal Communications Commission

DA 13-967

not be located because they were drying out from water damage sustained during a devastating storm on
June 24, 2010 and (2) the amount of the proposed forfeiture is excessive given the nature of the violation. 5

III.

DISCUSSION

4.
The proposed forfeiture amount in this case was assessed in accordance with Section
503(b) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (Act),6 Section 1.80 of the Rules,7 and the
Commission’s Forfeiture Policy Statement.8 In examining Mr. Peters’ 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.9 We considered Mr. Peters’ Response to the NAL in
light of these statutory factors and find that neither cancellation nor reduction of the forfeiture is warranted
for the reasons discussed below.
5.
Section 73.3526(a)(2) of the Rules requires that every licensee of an AM or FM station
shall maintain a public inspection file containing the material relating to that station described in Section
73.3526(e) of the Rules.10 Specifically, Section 73.3526(e)(12) requires licensees to place in their public
inspection file, for each calendar quarter, a list of programs that have provided the station’s most
significant treatment of community issues during the preceding three month period.11 This list is known
as the radio issues/programs list and copies of the lists must be maintained in the file until final action has
been taken on the station’s next renewal application.12 Further, as required by Section 73.3526(b), the
public inspection file shall be maintained at the station’s main studio.13 On August 24, 2010, an agent
from the Columbia Office found that the Station’s public inspection file did not contain any
issues/programs lists since the Station’s current license term began on October 1, 2003.
6.
The evidence does not support Mr. Peters’ claim that he maintained the lists and that they
were unavailable during the August 24, 2010, inspection because they were “soaked and . . . drying out”
from water damage sustained during a devastating storm on June 24, 2010, a storm which Mr. Peters also
alleges blew the roof off the studio and destroyed a substantial amount of broadcast equipment.14 During
the August 24, 2010, inspection, the agent did not observe any visible damage to the main studio building
or to the broadcast equipment. Further, when the agent inspected the Station’s public file, he found that
the file contained other required documents, such as a copy of the Station authorization, the ownership


5 See Letter from Lauren A. Colby, Counsel for Mr. Peters, to Salomon Satche, District Director, Columbia Office,
Northeast Region, Enforcement Bureau (filed June 9, 2011, in EB-10-CF-152) (Response) and Declaration of Mr.
Peters (Declaration) at 1. We note that Mr. Colby passed away on May 22, 2012, and Mr. Peters has not retained new
counsel.
6 47 U.S.C. § 503(b).
7 47 C.F.R. § 1.80.
8 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), recons. denied, 15 FCC Rcd 303 (1999)
(Forfeiture Policy Statement).
9 47 U.S.C. § 503(b)(2)(E).
10 47 C.F.R. § 73.3526(a)(2).
11 47 C.F.R. § 73.3526(e)(12).
12 Id.
13 47 C.F.R. § 73.3526(b).
14 See Declaration at 1.
2

Federal Communications Commission

DA 13-967

report, and the Station’s contour map, none of which appeared to have water damage.15 In addition, the
lists Mr. Peters submits with his Response, which allegedly were the ones that had been “drying out,”
have no sign of water damage. Based on our review of the facts, we conclude that the preponderance of
the evidence does not support Mr. Peters’ account.16 Accordingly, we affirm the finding in the NAL that
Mr. Peters willfully and repeatedly violated Section 73.3526 of the Rules by failing to maintain and make
available issues/programs lists.17
7.
We also disagree with Mr. Peters that the proposed forfeiture amount is excessive. Mr.
Peters notes that the proposed $10,000 forfeiture for the public file violation is substantially more than the
$7,000 forfeiture assessed for a serious public safety issue involving an antenna structure owner’s failure
to properly maintain antenna structure lighting.18 While it is correct that the case Mr. Peters cites resulted
in the assessment of a $7,000 forfeiture, the amount initially proposed in that case was $20,000 and it was
only later reduced to $7,000 based on the antenna structure owner’s demonstrated inability to pay.19 The
base forfeiture amount under Section 1.80(b) of the Rules for public violations is $10,00020 and the
forfeiture proposed in this case is consistent with Commission precedent.21 We therefore see no reason to
cancel or reduce the proposed forfeiture amount on this basis.
8.
In sum, we have examined Mr. Peters’ Response to the NAL pursuant to the statutory
factors above, and in conjunction with the Forfeiture Policy Statement. As a result of our review, we
conclude that Mr. Peters willfully and repeatedly violated Section 73.3526 of the Rules. Considering the
entire record and the factors listed above, we find that a forfeiture in the amount of $10,000 is warranted.

IV.

ORDERING CLAUSES

9.

ACCORDINGLY, IT IS ORDERED

that, pursuant to Section 503(b) of the
Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and Sections 0.111, 0.204, 0.311, 0.314, and 1.80(f)(4) of the
Commission’s Rules, Stephen R. Peters

IS LIABLE FOR A MONETARY FORFEITURE

in the
amount of ten thousand dollars ($10,000) for willfully and repeatedly violating Section 73.3526 of the
Commission's rules.22
10.
Payment of the forfeiture shall be made in the manner provided for in Section 1.80 of the
Rules within thirty (30) calendar days after the release date of this Forfeiture Order.23 If the forfeiture is
not paid within the period specified, the case may be referred to the U.S. Department of Justice for


15 We also question the likelihood that it would take more than two months for the issues/programs lists to sufficiently
dry out.
16 We note that Mr. Peters’ claim in the Response that he never told the agent that Station WTOR did not maintain
issues/programs lists (Declaration at 1), is inconsistent with the agent’s contemporaneous inspection notes. In any
event, even if we set aside that admission, it does not change our conclusion that the Station violated Section 73.3526
of the Rules, given the agent’s other observations during the inspection.
17 Given our conclusions, we remind Mr. Peters of the duty of candor and truthfulness expected of all Commission
licensees, as well as the possible penalties for misrepresentation, including monetary forfeitures and license revocation
or non-renewal. See, e.g., 47 U.S.C. § 312(a); 47 C.F.R. § 1.17.
18 See Response at 1.
19 See Big Fish Broadcasting, LLC, Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, NAL/Acct. No. 201032480003 (Enf.
Bur. Atlanta Office, rel. January 26, 2010).
20 47 C.F.R. § 1.80(b).
21 See, e.g., Mapleton License of San Luis Obispo, LLC, Forfeiture Order, 27 FCC Rcd 4099 (Enf. Bur. 2012).
22 47 U.S.C. § 503(b), 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.111, 0.204, 0.311, 0.314, 1.80(f)(4), 73.3526.
23 47 C.F.R. § 1.80.
3

Federal Communications Commission

DA 13-967

enforcement of the forfeiture pursuant to Section 504(a) of the Act.24 Stephen R. Peters shall also send
electronic notification on the date said payment is made to NER-Response@fcc.gov. 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.25 When completing the FCC Form 159, enter the Account
Number in block number 23A (call sign/other ID) and enter the letters “FORF” in block number 24A
(payment type code). Below are additional instructions you should follow based on the form of payment
you select:
Ÿ
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.
Ÿ
Payment by wire transfer must be made to ABA Number 021030004, receiving bank
TREAS/NYC, and Account Number 27000001. To complete the wire transfer and ensure
appropriate crediting of the wired funds, a completed Form 159 must be faxed to U.S. Bank
at (314) 418-4232 on the same business day the wire transfer is initiated.
11.
Payment by credit card must be made by providing the required credit card information
on FCC Form 159 and signing and dating the Form 159 to authorize the credit card payment. The
completed Form 159 must then 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. Any request for making full payment over
time under an installment plan should be sent to: Chief Financial Officer—Financial Operations, Federal
Communications Commission, 445 12th Street, S.W., Room 1-A625, Washington, D.C. 20554.26 If you
have questions regarding payment procedures, please contact the Financial Operations Group Help
Desk by phone, 1-877-480-3201, or by e-mail, ARINQUIRIES@fcc.gov.
12.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED

that a copy of this Forfeiture Order shall be sent by both
First Class Mail and Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested to Stephen R. Peters at his address of
record.

FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

G. Michael Moffitt
Regional Director, Northeast Region
Enforcement Bureau


24 47 U.S.C. § 504(a).
25 An FCC Form 159 and detailed instructions for completing the form may be obtained at
http://www.fcc.gov/Forms/Form159/159.pdf.
26 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.1914.
4

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