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                         Before the
              Federal Communications Commission
                   Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of                  )
                                 )
TRI-STATE INSPIRATIONAL           )   EB-01-IH-0332-KMS
BROADCASTING CORPORATION          )   Facility #67799
                                 )
Licensee of Noncommercial         )
Educational Station WFIX(FM),     )
Florence, Alabama

                MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

     Adopted:  September 17, 2001                 Released:  
September 18, 2001

By the Chief, Enforcement Bureau:

                       I. Introduction

     1.   In this Order, we admonish Tri-State Inspirational 
Broadcasting   Corporation   (``Tri-State''),  licensee   of 
noncommercial   educational   station  WFIX(FM),   Florence, 
Alabama,  for broadcasting  advertisements  in violation  of 
Section 399B of  the Communications Act of  1934, as amended 
(``the Act''),  47 U.S.C. 399b,  and Section 73.503  of the 
Commission's rules, 47  C.F.R. 73.503.  Tri-State responded 
to  our  May 16,  2001,  and  June  13, 2001,  inquiries  by 
submission dated June 25,  2001.  We have carefully reviewed 
the  record, including  Tri-State's  response, and  conclude 
that the  licensee has violated the  pertinent statutory and 
Commission underwriting  rule provisions.  While  we believe 
that no monetary sanction is warranted at this time, we find 
that an  admonishment is necessary to  redress the statutory 
and  rule  violations.   Moreover,  we believe  that  it  is 
appropriate to specifically advise Tri-State of our concerns 
so that rule compliance may be fully achieved.

                       II.  Background

     2.   Advertisements are  defined by the Act  as program 
material broadcast  "in exchange  for any  remuneration" and 
intended to  "promote any service, facility,  or product" of 
for-profit entities.   47 U.S.C. 399b(a).  As  noted above, 
noncommercial   educational  stations   may  not   broadcast 
advertisements.    Although   contributors   of   funds   to 
noncommercial stations may  receive on-air acknowledgements, 
the Commission  has held  that such acknowledgements  may be 
made  for  identification  purposes  only,  and  should  not 
promote the contributors' products, services, or business.  

     3.   The Commission  noted that it may  be difficult at 
times  for licensees  to distinguish  between language  that 
promotes   versus   that   which   merely   identifies   the 
underwriter,   but    expects   that    licensees   exercise 
``reasonable,  good  faith  judgment'' in  this  area.   See 
Xavier University, 5 FCC Rcd 4920 (1990); Public Notice, "In 
the  Matter   of  the   Commission  Policy   Concerning  the 
Noncommercial Nature of  Educational Broadcasting Stations," 
(April 11, 1986), republished, 7 FCC Rcd 827 (1992).  As the 
Commission  made   clear  in   Xavier,  it  will   not  deem 
announcements impermissible where the  ``language at issue . 
. .   is not clearly  promotional as opposed  to identifying 
and  . .  .  the licensee  exercised reasonable,  good-faith 
judgment regarding the language. . .  .''  

                      III.  Discussion

     4.   The key  facts in  this case  are not  in dispute.  
Tri-State  does  not deny  that  the  station broadcast  the 
sponsored announcements  described in our letter  of inquiry 
and set forth in the attached transcript.  Tri-State argues, 
however, that the announcements  comply with Section 399B of 
the Act ,  and the pertinent Commission  policies and rules, 
noting that  ``at the time  [of their broadcast] we  felt we 
were well within our bounds, and that our announcements were 
fully  permissible.''  Tri-State  admits, however,  that its 
management  is  relatively  inexperienced  in  noncommercial 
broadcast   and  that   it   has   found  interpreting   the 
Commission's   underwriting   announcement  policy   to   be 
difficult,  often requiring  it to  consult with  other more 
seasoned noncommercial  broadcasters.  Since  taking control 
of  the  licensee's  board in  September  2000,  Tri-State's 
management contends that it  has developed ``newly revised'' 
control procedures aimed at ensuring Commission underwriting 
rule compliance.

     5.   We    find   that    the   subject    underwriting 
announcements exceed the bounds of what is permissible under 
Section  399B of  the  Act, and  the Commission's  pertinent 
rules  and   policies,  in   light  of   the  ``good-faith'' 
discretion   afforded   licensees   under   Xavier,   supra.  
Notwithstanding  this finding,  we believe  that a  monetary 
sanction is not necessary to  redress the statutory and rule 
violations  at  issue.   This  disposition  is  based  to  a 
significant degree  upon the fact that  Tri-State's board is 
new  and  has taken  steps  to  ensure compliance  with  our 
underwriting rules.  However, certain aspects of Tri-State's 
response warrant further examination.

     6.   Specifically, we caution Tri-State that references 
that distinguish  the underwriter  from its  competitors are 
prohibited.  See Public Notice,  supra. Thus, the mention of 
a sponsoring retail jeweler's getting its gemstones directly 
from the diamond cutter distinguishes the jeweler from those 
who do not.  Such references are thus promotional and should 
be avoided.1   Similarly, the station's  characterization of 
an underwriter's  inventory as ``name-brand'' seeks  to cast 
its products in a favorable light and is not value-neutral.2  
Id.    Also,  underwriting   announcements   may  not   make 
descriptive,  qualitative references  that intend  to induce 
patronage of  their underwriters' businesses. Id.;  see also 
In  re WJTA(FM),  5 FCC  Rcd  7106 (MMB  1990).  Thus,  Tri-
State's   explanation   that   several  of   the   station's 
announcements attempt to ``conjure up feelings that we could 
all identify with'' essentially reveals that their intent is 
to  distinguish and  promote their  respective underwriters' 
products or services in  the minds of listeners.3  Moreover, 
even  where   statements  made  about  an   underwriter  are 
factually true,  they are not  permissible if they  are also 
promotional.  See Letter from  the Chief, Investigations and 
Hearings Division, Enforcement  Bureau, to Station KOUZ(FM), 
(July  12,  2000)  (use  of  the  phrase  ``ICAR  gold-class 
certification''    to    describe   underwriter's    service 
qualifications   was   found  impermissible).    Thus,   the 
station's references  to an  underwriter's having  ``kept up 
with [changing]  technology'' or  a ``new  Sentricon Baiting 
System''  are  prohibited.4    Additionally,  the  station's 
description   of   an   underwriter's   service   as   being 
``convenient'' is  qualitative and prohibited.5   See Letter 
from  the  Chief,   Investigations  and  Hearings  Division, 
Enforcement  Bureau, to  Station WLRY(FM),  (April 5,  2000) 
(where description of underwriting pharmacy as ``provid[ing] 
the same service as the major chains without the long wait'' 
was found impermissible). 

     7.   Finally, we note that several of the announcements 
in  question were  over  30 seconds  in  length.  While  the 
Commission  has  not  adopted  quantitative  limitations  on 
announcements, it  has noted  that the  longer they  take to 
identify their underwriters, the more  likely they are to be 
found promotional.  See In re  WNYE-TV, 7 FCC Rcd 6864, 6865 
(MMB  1992).   In the  instant  case,  it appears  that  the 
excessive length of several  of the announcements contribute 
to their overall promotional nature.
      

                    IV.  Ordering Clauses

     8.   In  view  of the  foregoing,  we  conclude that  a 
sanction is  appropriate.  Accordingly,  IT IS  ORDERED that 
Tri-State  Inspirational Broadcasting  Corporation, licensee 
of  noncommercial  educational station  WFIX(FM),  Florence, 
Alabama,  IS ADMONISHED  for broadcasting  advertisements in 
violation of Section  399B of the Act, 47  U.S.C. 399B, and 
Section 73.503 of the Commission's rules, 47 C.F.R. 73.503.

     9.   IT  IS  FURTHER  ORDERED   that  a  copy  of  this 
Memorandum  Opinion and  Order shall  be sent,  by Certified 
Mail -- Return Receipt Requested, to Tri-State Inspirational 
Broadcasting  Corporation, 113  N. Seminary  Road, Florence, 
Alabama, 35630.


                         FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION


                         
                         David H. Solomon
                         Chief, Enforcement Bureau

Attachment
















                         ATTACHMENT

     The  following  text  was  transcribed  from  audiotape 
recordings  of   underwriting  announcements   broadcast  on 
WFIX(FM),  Florence,  AL,  during the  period  October  2000 
through March 2001:

1.   Osborne's Jewelers  (30 seconds).

The Antwerp diamond dealers usually deal only with America's 
largest importers.  At Osborne Jewelers,  as a member of the 
IJO, they acquire diamonds  directly from the diamond cutter 
in  Antwerp,  eliminating   the  importer  and  distributor.  
Antwerp means a diamond  directly from the diamond's source.  
Osborne  Jewelers  of  Florence and  Athens,  with  diamonds 
directly  from  Antwerp.   Osborne  Jewelers,  on  Jefferson 
Street in Athens, and Cox Creek Parkway in Florence. 

2.   The Sound Shoppe  (30 seconds). 

The Sound  Shoppe in the Shoals-area  has name-brand musical 

instruments  and sound  equipment.  Brand-name guitars  like 

Gibson,  Takoma, and  a  brand-new  truckload of  Epiphones.  

Drums from  Sonar and digital pianos,  amps, accessories and 

much, much  more!  Lessons available, too.   Darrell Trippet 

and the  staff at  the Sound  Shop proudly  service anything 

they sell.   The Sound  Shoppe, Parkway Shopping  Center, in 

Florence. 

3.   Osborne's Jewelers  (45 seconds).

Our jewelers can tell that there's a problem before she ever 
says a word.  They see it all over her face.  They 
instinctively know what the problem is.  A nice lady comes 
in, and has just had her once-in-a-lifetime experience of 
being proposed to.  She's very happy about that although 
she's not thrilled by her engagement ring.  The ring she's 
going to wear for the rest of her life.  Osborne's pleas 
with all the guys out there -- please don't let this be you!  
Osborne Jewelers has diamond engagement rings that words 
cannot describe.  Osborne Jewelers on Jefferson Street in 
Athens, and now on Cox Creek Parkway.

4.  Gilbert Furniture  (30 seconds).

Don't you love meeting new, friendly faces in warm, friendly 
places?  Gilbert Furniture.  Don't you love furnishing your 
home nice and cozy for the holiday season?  Gilbert 
Furniture.  Don't you love solid-wood bedroom suites by 
Orleans?  And Chippendale dining-room suites?  Everyone 
loves Queen Anne living-room suites with matching lamps, 
curios, and end tables.  Gilbert Furniture.  Gilbert 
Furniture has all of this, plus leather, three-piece sets, 
five-piece small dinettes and much more!  Gilbert Furniture, 
next to Southern BBQ on Wilson Dam Road.

5.  Cedar Gables  (30 seconds).

Do you like Waterford Crystal, Linden Clocks, Fitz & Floyd, 
Arthur Court, Seraphim Classics, Austin, and many others?  
Cedar Gables.  Do you like surprises?  Like being able to 
buy a gift or decorative piece for your home that you never 
dreamed would fit into your budget?  Cedar Gables.  On the 
hill just outside of Killen off Highway 72.  Where there are 
many collectibles, gifts, and most importantly, pleasant 
surprises.



6.  Osborne's Jewelers  (45 seconds).

Because the first snow of the holiday season makes her pulse 
quicken and her cheeks flush.  Because she doesn't feel it's 
Christmas without a mile of colored lights or the scent of 
pine mixing with gingerbread.  Diamonds for Christmas.  
Because she doesn't have the heart to tell a little boy that 
Santa's helpers aren't truly elves, or a little girl that it 
forgot to snow.  Soon it will be Christmas morning, and all 
she's expecting is trinkets under the tree.  Diamonds:  just 
because you love her.  Osborne Jewelers on Cox Creek Parkway 
in Florence, and in Athens on Jefferson Street.


7.   Chic-Fil-A (55 seconds).

Male Voice:  ``Hey honey, what are you doing?''

Female Voice:  ``I'm making a guest list for our party.''

Male Voice:  ``Oh.  Who's invited?''

Female Voice:  ``Well, I thought we'd ask the Johnsons.''

Male Voice:  ``Arrrgh.  The Johnsons!''

Female Voice:  ``The Burkes.''

Male Voice:  ``Not the Burkes!''

Female Voice:  ``And the Smiths.''

Male Voice:  ``Oh, great!''

Female Voice: ``The Fitz-Hughs.''

Male Voice:  ``What is this, a wake?''

Female Voice:  ``The Everetts.''

Male Voice:  ``Hide the jewelry!''

Female Voice:  ``The Bakers.''

Male Voice:  ``Make it stop!''

Female Voice:  ``And the Bovines.''

Male Voice:  ``Really?  The Bovines?''

Female Voice:  ``The Bovines.''

Male Voice:  ``As in -`he smells like a barn and she chews 
with her mouth wide open?'  Those Bovines?''

Female Voice:  ``They're the ones.''

Male Voice:  ``Are they bringing those Chic-Fil-A Party 
Platters with them?''

Female Voice:  ``Yes, they are: chicken nuggets, chicken 
strips and even chicken salad finger sandwiches.''

Male Voice:  ``I got no beef with them.''

Later at the Party:

Host's Voice:  ``Great party, huh?''

Guest's Voice:  ``M--OOO!''

Narrator:  ``Party Trays from Chic-Fil-A.  We didn't invent 
the chicken, just the chicken sandwich.'' 

8.   Heil Heating and Cooling  (30 seconds).

Offering heating and cooling products for over 100 years.  
Technology changes rapidly and Heil Heating and Cooling has 
kept up with technology!  Their units, offering up to 13 CR 
means comfort and energy efficiency for your home or office.  
The Heil Dealer nearest you is listed in the Yellow Pages.  
Heil Heating and Cooling, supporters of the New FIX 91.3.

9.   Southern Services Pest Control  (30 seconds).

So that nothing can cause damage to your valuable home or 
property, Southern Services Pest Control offers service for 
all types of homes, businesses, restaurants, hotels, 
churches, anywhere pests are a problem. Southern Services 
Pest Control . . . features the new Sentricon Baiting System 
that eliminates termite colonies.  Call Southern Services 
Pest Control to find out how they can help you with a free 
quote.  Southern Services Pest Control, at 764-3121  . . .  
.

10.  Williams Cleaners  (30 seconds). 

There's a new name in the dry-cleaning industry in the 
Shoals - Williams Cleaners.  Mike Williams and his staff at 
Williams Cleaners offers same-day service!  With a 
convenient drive-through window.  On Avalon Avenue in Muscle 
Shoals, you don't even have to leave your car.  Williams 
Cleaners does laundry service, alterations, leather 
cleaning.  And don't forget:  same-day service!  When you 
need it fast, let Williams Cleaners help you!  Williams 
Cleaners, with two locations . . .  .




_________________________

1 See attached announcements for Osborne's Jewelers.

2 See attached announcement for The Sound Shoppe.

3 See attached announcements for Osborne's Jewelers, Gilbert 
Furniture, Cedar Gables, and Chic-Fil-A.

4 See attached announcements for Heil Heating and Cooling 
and Southern Services Pest Control.

5 See attached announcement for Williams Cleaners.