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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of )
Victory & Power Ministries, Inc., ) File No. EB-02-OR-
Licensee of Station WPFC(AM) ) NAL/Acct. No.
Baton Rouge, Louisiana ) FRN: 0008-0778-77
Adopted: October 13, 2004 Released:
October 15, 2004
By the Assistant Chief, Enforcement Bureau
1. In this Forfeiture Order (``Order''), we issue a
monetary forfeiture in the amount of twenty thousand dollars
($20,000) to Victory & Power Ministries, Inc. (``VPM''), licensee
of Station WPFC(AM), Baton Rouge, Louisiana for willful
violations of the Emergency Alert System (``EAS''), the antenna
fencing and the public file requirements of Sections 11.35(a),
73.49 and 73.3526(c) of the Commission's Rules (``Rules'').1
2. On November 13, 2002, the Commission's New Orleans,
Louisiana Field Office (``New Orleans Office'') inspected Station
WPFC(AM)'s facilities, and observed that the EAS equipment was
not operational or tested, that EAS tests were not logged, that
the fence enclosing its antenna structure was not locked, and
that the public file could not be located and thus was not
available during normal business hours. As a result of the
inspection, on February 14, 2003, the New Orleans Office released
a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (``NAL'').2 The
NAL found that VPM apparently willfully violated Sections
11.35(a), 73.49 and 73.3526(c) of the Rules, and proposed an
aggregate $25,000 forfeiture.
3. VPM responded to the NAL on March 17, 2003, and
supplemented its response on September 20, 2004. In its
response, VPM did not dispute the NAL's findings. Rather, VPM
sought cancellation of the proposed forfeiture based on its
inadvertence, remedial efforts, inability to pay, and history of
4. The forfeiture amount proposed in this case was
assessed in accordance with Section 503(b) of the Communications
Act of 1934, as amended (``Act''),3 Section 1.80 of the Rules,4
and the Commission's Forfeiture Policy Statement and Amendment of
Section 1.80 of the Rules to Incorporate the Forfeiture
Guidelines.5 In assessing forfeitures, Section 503(b)(2)(D) 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.6 As discussed below, we have considered
VPM's response to the NAL in light of these statutory factors and
have determined that a reduction of the proposed forfeiture is
5. VPM claimed, and provided supporting documentation
(consisting of a police report and sworn declarations of its
staff) to show, that a robbery occurred at the radio station on
June 6, 2002. According to VPM, its staff, in cleaning up after
the robbery, inadvertently discarded station documents, including
the public file. Under Section 503(b)(1)(B) of the Act,7 a
broadcast licensee that ``willfully or repeatedly'' fails to
comply with any provision of the Act or any rule, regulation or
order issued by the Commission under the Act'' is subject to
forfeiture liability. In this context, ``willful'' simply means
the conscious and deliberate commission or omission of an act,
irrespective of any intent to violate statutory or regulatory
requirements.8 We find that VPM's staff's deliberate discarding
of station documents, including the public file, was willful. We
further find that VPM, as the broadcast licensee, is responsible
and is not absolved from liability for the willful acts of its
staff.9 Moreover, we do not find that the robbery and aftermath
presented mitigating circumstances, given that it occurred in
June of 2002 and that VPM made no effort to reconstruct its
public file until more than five months after the incident and
after the New Orleans Office inspected its facilities.10 Under
the circumstances, we do not believe reduction or cancellation of
the forfeiture is warranted in this regard.
6. VPM also claimed that it has corrected the noted
violations. Specifically, VPM claimed that it corrected the EAS
violation, by ensuring that its equipment is fully operational;
it corrected the antenna fencing violation, by replacing the lock
on the fence surrounding the antenna structure, instructing its
employees of the importance of locking the fence, and regularly
inspecting the fenced antenna site, and corrected the public file
violation, by reconstructing its previously lost and thus
unavailable public information file. The Commission expects a
licensee to correct violations that are observed during
inspection, and/or are the subject of an enforcement action.11 A
licensee's implementation of such corrective measures, however,
does not mitigate its past violations and does not warrant
reduction or cancellation of a forfeiture.12 Thus, we find that
no reduction of cancellation of the proposed forfeiture is
warranted in this regard.
7. Additionally, VPM claimed that ``a $25,000 fine to a
gospel station with a limited market and a church the size of
Victory and Power will cause extreme and tremendous hardship to
[its] church and [its] operation.''13 As the NAL correctly
noted, the Commission will consider adjusting or canceling a
forfeiture on the basis of an inability to pay claim if
sufficient financial documentation is provided (i.e., ``federal
tax returns for the most recent three-year period, financial
statements prepared according to generally accepted accounting
practices, or some other reliable and objective documentation
that accurately reflects the petitioner's current financial
status'').14 Because VPM did not submit any supporting financial
documentation,15 we find that no reduction of cancellation of the
proposed forfeiture is warranted in this regard.
8. Finally, VPM claimed, and a search of Commission
records confirmed, that Station WPFC(AM) has a history of overall
compliance with the Communications Act and the Commission's rules
and regulations. After considering VPM's history of
compliance,16 we find that a reduction of the proposed forfeiture
to $20,000 is appropriate.
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES
9. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to Section
503(b) of the Act, and Sections 0.111, 0.311 and 1.80(f)(4) of
the Rules,17 Victory & Power Ministries, Inc. IS LIABLE FOR A
MONETARY FORFEITURE in the amount of twenty thousand dollars
($20,000.00) for its willful violations of Sections 11.35(a),
73.49 and 73.3526(c) of the Rules.
10. Payment of the forfeiture shall be made in the manner
provided for in Section 1.80 of the Rules within 30 days of the
release of this 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.18
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 above. Payment by check or money order may be
mailed to Forfeiture Collection Section, Finance Branch, Federal
Communications Commission, P.O. Box 73482, Chicago, Illinois
60673-7482. Payment by overnight mail may be sent to Bank One/LB
73482, 525 West Monroe, 8th Floor Mailroom, Chicago, IL 60661.
Payment by wire transfer may be made to ABA Number 071000013,
receiving bank Bank One, and account number 1165259. Requests
for full payment under an installment plan should be sent to:
Chief, Revenue and Receivables Operations Group, 445 12th Street,
S.W., Washington, D.C. 20554.19
11. IS FURTHER ORDERED that a copy of this Order shall be
sent by First Class and Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested
to Victory & Power Ministries, Inc., 6940 Harry Drive, Baton
Rouge, Louisiana 70806.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
George R. Dillon
Assistant Chief, Enforcement Bureau
147 C.F.R. §§ 11.35(a), 73.49 and 73.3526(c).
2Victory & Power Ministries, Inc., NAL/Acct. No. 200332620005
(Enf. Bur., New Orleans Office, released February 14, 2003).
347 U.S.C. § 503(b).
447 C.F.R. § 1.80.
512 FCC Rcd 17087 (1997), recon. denied, 15 FCC Rcd 303 (1999)
(``Forfeiture Policy Statement'').
647 U.S.C. § 503(b)(2)(D).
747 U.S.C. § 503(b)(1)(B).
8See 47 U.S.C. § 312(f)(1) (emphasis added); see also Southern
California Broadcasting Co., 6 FCC Rcd 4387, 4387-88, ¶ 5 (1991).
9See Eure Family Limited Partnership, 17 FCC Rcd 21861, 21863-64
¶¶ 6-7 (2002); Sonderling Broadcasting Corp., 69 FCC 2d 289, 290-
91 ¶ 6 (1977); Wagenvoord Broadcasting Co., 35 FCC 2d 361, 361-62
¶ 3 (1972).
10In this connection, we note that the public file serves
important objectives, by fostering community involvement and by
enabling a radio station's listeners to monitor the station's
operations and public interest performance. See Review of the
Commission's Rules Regarding the Main Studio and Local Public
Inspection Files of Broadcast Television and Radio Stations, 13
FCC Rcd 15691, 15700 ¶ 18 (1998).
11See AT&T Wireless Services, Inc., 17 FCC Rcd 21866, 21875 ¶ 26
(finding that all Commission licensees and regulatees are
``expected to promptly take corrective action when violations are
brought to their attention,'' and that such corrective action
neither nullifies nor mitigates past violations); see also
Seawest Yacht Brokers, 9 FCC Rcd at 6099, 6099 ¶ 7 (1994); TCI
Cablevision of Maryland, Inc., 7 FCC Rcd 6013, 6014 ¶ 8 (1992);
Sonderling Broadcasting Corp., 69 FCC 2d 289, 291 (1978); South
Central Communications Corp., 18 FCC Rcd 700, 702-03 ¶ 9 (Enf.
13NAL Response at 2.
14NAL at ¶ 12.
15See Webnet Communications, Inc., 18 FCC Rcd 6870, 6878 ¶ 16
(2003) (finding that the Rules require that any request to reduce
or remove a forfeiture based on an inability to pay claim include
detailed and relevant financial documentation, that the carrier
did not provide such documentation, and that therefore there was
no basis to reduce the total forfeiture on such grounds); see
also Commonwealth License Subsidiary, LLC, 18 FCC Rcd 20483,
20486 ¶ 10 (Enf. Bur. 2003); Andre Dominque Hunter, 14 FCC Rcd
3958, 3959-60 ¶ 6 (CIB 1999).
16See, e.g., KGB, Inc., 13 FCC Rcd 16396, 6398 ¶ 8 (1998)
(reducing a proposed forfeiture from $11,500 to $9,200 for airing
indecent material because of the broadcast licensee's history of
overall compliance prior to these broadcasts); Max Media of
Montana, L.L.C., 18 FCC Rcd 21375, 21379 ¶ 14 (Enf. Bur. 2003)
(reducing a proposed forfeiture from $11,000 to $8,800 for
antenna structure lighting and registration violations because of
the licensee's history of overall compliance).
17 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.111, 0.311, 1.80(f)(4).
18 47 U.S.C. § 504(a).
19 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.1914.