Elliot B. Block
Federal Communications Commission DA 13-2091
Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554In the Matter of:
Elliott B. Block
Licensee of Station WOTH-CA
NAL/Acct. No. 201341420012
Facility ID No. 19431
Adopted: October 29, 2013
Released: October 30, 2013By the Chief, Video Division, Media Bureau:
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 Elliott B. Block, licensee of Station WOTH_CA,
Cincinnati, Ohio, repeatedly violated Section 73.3526(e)(11)(iii) of the Commission’s Rules by
failing to (i) file electronically with the Commission and (ii) place in its public inspection file the
Station’s Children’s Television Programming Reports (FCC Form 398). Based on our review of
the facts and circumstances, we find the Licensee liable for a forfeiture of Thirteen Thousand
The Video Division issued a Notice of Apparent Liability (“NAL”) for Forfeiture on
May 21, 2013.2 The NAL notified the Licensee that its failure to file timely its Children’s
Television Programming Reports constituted an apparent willful or repeated violation of Section
73.3526(e)(11)(iii) of the Commission’s rules3 and that the Station’s failure to prepare and upload
the files also represented a violation of its obligation to maintain the reports in its public file. The
Division concluded that the Licensee was apparently liable for a forfeiture of $13,000.
In a timely response dated June 24, 2013, the Licensee admitted that it could not
rebut the claimed violations but nonetheless asserted that the proposed forfeiture amount should
1 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.61(f)(1), 1.80(a)(1) & (2).
2Elliott B. Block, Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, DA 13-1163 (May 21, 2013).
3 47 C.F.R. § 73.3526(e)(11)(iii).
4 Licensee Response to Notice of Apparent Liability (“Licensee Response”) (June 20, 2013) at 1-2.
Federal Communications Commission
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
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 not be reduced from the amount proposed in the NAL.
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
The Licensee does not dispute that it failed to prepare or file electronically its
Children’s Television Programming Reports with the Commission in a timely manner for the
quarters identified in the NAL. These deficiencies, regardless of the cause, constitute repeated
violations of the relevant Commission rules.
Commission policy establishes 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.10 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
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 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).
Federal Communications Commission
DA 13-2091require.” In the NAL, the Commission proposed a forfeiture amount of $13,000. Licensee argues
that the forfeiture amount should be reduced or cancelled.
The Licensee first argues that, despite the late filings, the Licensee met the intent of
the Children’s Television Act because the Station broadcast the children’s programming in
question.11 We disagree. The preparation and filing of Children’s Television Programming Reports
with the Commission ensures that the public and the Commission are able to review on a real-time
basis the adequacy of the station’s efforts with respect to children’s programming, and such public
access is crucial to the success of the statute’s goals.12
The Licensee also argues that the forfeiture amount should be reduced or cancelled
because its failure to file the required reports in a timely manner was based on staff limitations.13
The Commission has long held that inadvertence or human error is not a mitigating circumstance
that would make the Licensee less culpable and therefore subject to a lesser forfeiture amount.14
We have considered the Licensee’s arguments and conclude that no reduction in the forfeiture
amount is appropriate on this basis.
The Licensee further argues that it cannot afford to pay the forfeiture.15 The
Commission will not consider reducing or canceling a forfeiture in response to 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.16 Here, the Licensee provided financial
documentation for the Licensee and, upon request, for a related entity of which the Licensee owns
the majority interest, in an effort to support its argument that it cannot pay the forfeiture
In the NAL, the Video Division proposed a forfeiture amount of $13,000. Having
carefully reviewed the Licensee’s submitted documentation, we do not find a basis to reduce the
forfeiture, as the forfeiture amount is in line with previous forfeitures the Commission has
determined are not excessive relative to the Licensee’s ability to pay.18
11 Licensee Response at 1.
12 Highland Park Broadcasting, L.P., Forfeiture Order, 28 FCC Rcd 11076 (Vid. Div. 2013).
13 Licensee Response at 1.
14 See Sage Broadcasting Corp., Letter Decision, 25 FCC Rcd 4556, 4558 (Vid. Div. 2010); Standard
Communications Corp., Memorandum Opinion and Order, 1 FCC Rcd 358 (1986) (stating that “employee
acts or omissions, such as clerical errors in failing to file required forms, do not excuse violations”); 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).
15 Licensee Response at 2-3.
16 San Jose State University, Memorandum Opinion and Order, 26 FCC Rcd 5908 (2011).
17 The Licensee requested that the returns for both the Licensee and the related entity be treated as confidential
pursuant to Section 0.457(d)(2) of the Commission’s Rules. Licensee Response at 2; Licensee Supplemental
18 Hoosier Broadcasting Corporation, Memorandum Opinion and Order, 15 FCC Rcd 8640, 8641 (EB
2002) (forfeiture not deemed excessive where it represented approximately 7.6 percent of the violator's
Federal Communications Commission
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES12.
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 Elliott B. Block SHALL FORFEIT to the United States the sum of
Thirteen Thousand Dollars ($13,000) for repeatedly violating Section 47 U.S.C. §
336(f)(2)(A)(ii) and 47 C.F.R. § 73.3526(e)(11)(iii).
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
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 email@example.com on the date payment is made.
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
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT a copy of this FORFEITURE ORDER shall
be sent by Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested to Elliott B. Block, P.O. Box 37770,
Cincinnati, Ohio, 45237 and to its counsel, Peter Tannenwald, Esquire, Fletcher, Heald &
Hildreth, 1300 North 17th Street, 11th Floor, Arlington, Virginia 22209.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Barbara A. Kreisman
Chief, Video Division
gross revenues); Bruno Goodworth Network, Inc., Forfeiture Order, DA 13-1585, 2013 WL 3777827 (Vid.
Div. Jul. 18, 2013) (forfeiture amount reduced to approximately 7 percent of the violator’s gross revenues).
19 47 U.S.C. § 503(b); 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.61(f)(1) & 1.80(a)(1)&(2).
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