Federal Communications Commission DA 13-2419
Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of:
Central Ohio Association of Christian
NAL/Acct. No. 201341420055
Licensee of Station WGCT-CD
Facility ID No. 66172
Adopted: December 18, 2013
Released: December 19, 2013
By 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 Central Ohio Association of Christian Broadcasters,
licensee of Station WGCT-CD, Columbus, Ohio, repeatedly violated (i) Section
73.3526(e)(11)(iii) of the Commission’s Rules by failing to file electronically with the
Commission in a timely manner the Station’s Children’s Television Programming Reports and
(ii) Section 73.3514(a) of the Rules by failing to report the violations in its renewal application.
Based on our review of the facts and circumstances, we find the Licensee liable for a forfeiture of
Three Thousand Dollars ($3,000.00).
The Video Division issued a Notice of Apparent Liability (“NAL”) for Forfeiture on
October 28, 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 Licensee’s failure to report the
violations in its renewal application represented a violation of Section 73.3514(a) of the Rules.4
The Division concluded that the Licensee was apparently liable for a forfeiture of $3,000.
In a timely response dated November 8, 2013, the Licensee did not dispute the
claimed violations but nonetheless asserted that the proposed forfeiture amount should be
1 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.61(f)(1), 1.80(a)(1) & (2).
2Central Ohio Association of Christian Broadcasters
, Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, DA 13-
2073 (Oct. 28, 2013).
3 47 C.F.R. § 73.3526(e)(11)(iii).
4 47 C.F.R. § 73.3514(a).
5 Licensee Response to Notice of Apparent Liability (“Licensee Response”) (Nov. 8, 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.6
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.7 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.8 As
we set forth in greater detail below, we conclude that the Licensee is liable for a forfeiture for
repeated violations of Sections 73.3526(e)(11)(iii) and 73.3514(a) 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.9 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.10
The Licensee does not dispute that it (i) failed to file its Children’s Television
Programming Reports with the Commission in a timely manner for the quarters identified in the
NAL and (ii) failed to report these violations in the renewal application. 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.11 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
6 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,
, 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).
7 47 U.S.C. § 503(b); 47 C.F.R. § 1.80(f).
8 See, e.g., SBC Communications, Inc.
, Forfeiture Order, 17 FCC Rcd 7589, 7591 (2002).
9 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).
10 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).
11 See Forfeiture Policy Statement and Amendment of Section 1.80(b) of the Rules to Incorporate the
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
matters as justice may require.” Licensee argues that the forfeiture amount should be reduced or
cancelled because it cannot afford to pay the forfeiture.12
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.13 Here, the Licensee provided
financial documentation for the Licensee in an effort to support its argument that it cannot pay the
In the NAL, the Video Division proposed a forfeiture amount of $3,000. 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.15
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES
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,16 Central Ohio Association of Christian Broadcasters SHALL FORFEIT to
the United States the sum of Three Thousand Dollars ($3,000) for repeatedly violating 47 C.F.R.
§ 73.3526(e)(11)(iii) and 47 C.F.R. § 73.3514(a).
In the event that the Licensee wishes to revert WGCT-CD to low power television
status, the Licensee need only notify us of this election and request a change in status for the
station.17 Should the Licensee elect to revert the station to low power status, the Licensee would
no longer be apparently liable for the forfeiture amount described herein.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
12 Licensee Response at 1-2.
13 San Jose State University
, Memorandum Opinion and Order, 26 FCC Rcd 5908 (2011).
14 Licensee Response at 1-2.
15 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
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).
16 47 U.S.C. § 503(b); 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.61(f)(1) & 1.80(a)(1)&(2).
47 C.F.R. § 73.6001(d).
Federal Communications Commission
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 Central Ohio Association of Christian
Broadcasters, Inc., 1282 N. Main Street, Marion, Ohio, 43302.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Barbara A. Kreisman
Chief, Video Division