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

In the Matter of                  )
TECHNOLOGY INFORMATION            )   EB-03-IH-0705
FOUNDATION, LTD.                  )   Facility ID No. 131898
Licensee of Low Power             )
Noncommercial Educational         )
Station WLFK-LP, Eau Claire,      )


Adopted:  November 9, 2004                        Released:  
November 9, 2004

By the Chief, Investigations and Hearings Division, 
Enforcement Bureau:


     1.   In this Memorandum Opinion and Order, we admonish 
Technology Information Foundation, Ltd. (``Technology''), 
licensee of low power noncommercial educational FM Station 
WLFK-LP, Eau Claire, Wisconsin, for broadcasting 
advertisements in violation of section 399B of the 
Communications Act of 1934, as amended (the ``Act''),1 and 
section 73.503(d) of the Commission's rules.2  We have 
carefully reviewed the record, including Technology's 
response, and conclude that the licensee has violated the 
pertinent statutory and Commission underwriting rule 
provisions, in addition to having failed to submit required 
information in response to a Commission inquiry.  While we 
believe that no monetary sanction is warranted at this time, 
based upon the entire circumstances of this case, we find 
that an admonishment is necessary to redress these statutory 
and rule violations.  Moreover, we believe that it is 
appropriate to advise Technology of our specific concerns so 
that i9t may avoid future violations.


     2.   In response to a confidential complaint, we 
inquired of the licensee concerning its underwriting 
announcements.  Technology responded to our August 24, 2004, 
inquiry3 by its submission dated September 7, 2004.4  In its 
response, Technology acknowledges that it broadcast the 
inquired of underwriting announcements during the period 
November 11 through 18, 2003, over Station WLFK-LP.5  
Technology represents, however, that three of the five 
announcements at issue, those on behalf of The Barstow Café, 
Advanced Audio Systems, and Union Records/Tru Trax, were 
broadcast ``without remuneration or promise of future 
remuneration,'' and should therefore be deemed compliant 
with section 399B of the Act. 6  Technology represents that, 
since becoming aware of the complaint, it has ``pulled all 
current sponsorship announcements for extensive review,''7 
in an attempt to better conform its station operation to the 
Commission rules and policies regarding underwriting 


     3.   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.8  As the Commission has long held, 
noncommercial educational stations may not broadcast 
advertisements.9  Although the Commission has held that 
contributors of funds to noncommercial stations may receive 
on-air acknowledgements, such acknowledgements may be made 
for identification purposes only, and should not promote the 
contributors' products, services, or business.10  

     4.   Specifically, such announcements may not contain 
comparative or qualitative descriptions, price information, 
calls to action, or inducements to buy, sell, rent or 
lease.11  At the same time, however, the Commission has 
acknowledged that it is at times difficult to distinguish 
between announcements that promote versus those which merely 
identify the underwriter.  Consequently, it expects only 
that licensees exercise reasonable, good-faith judgment in 
this area.12  

     5.   The key facts in this case are not in dispute.  
Technology admits that Station WLFK-LP broadcast the 
announcements described in our letter of inquiry and set 
forth in the attached transcript; that the sponsors are for-
profit entities; and that, with the exception of the Barstow 
Café, Advanced Audio Systems, and Union Records/Tru Trax 
announcements, it received consideration for airing the 
messages.  Technology asserts that it has since taken steps 
to ensure underwriting rule compliance by revising the 
station's donor acknowledgment policy and practice.13

     6.   We find that the announcements aired by Technology 
on behalf of Northern Safari Army Navy Store and Westside 
Cycle, for which Technology received remuneration, 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.  Specifically, the announcements seek 
to promote their respective underwriters through comparative 
and qualitative descriptions, and references that seek to 
induce patronage, and are thus prohibited. Notwithstanding 
this substantive finding, we find that a monetary forfeiture 
is not necessary to redress the statutory and rule 
violations at issue.  This disposition takes into account 
the full circumstances of this case, including the absence 
of evidence undermining Technology's claim of ``good-faith'' 
efforts to comply as well as Technology's blemish-free 
enforcement record. 
     7.   With regard to Technology's underwriting 
practices, we believe that the licensee should review its 
promise to air ``pre-recorded sixty-second (maximum) 
announcements that give [its] listeners basic information 
[about the underwriter].''14  Although the Commission has 
not imposed quantitative guidelines on the length of 
underwriting announcements, it has noted that the longer 
they are, the more promotional they tend to be.15  In light 
of the excessive length of the problematic announcements 
involved in this case, which range from 36 to 49 seconds in 
duration, Technology should carefully examine and then 
reform its current practices.  

     8.   We further admonish Technology for its inadequate 
response to the Commission inquiry.  First, Technology 
failed to respond to our specific question directing it to 
explain the meaning that it ascribed to the promise made to 
station sponsors that they would receive ``favorable mention 
on our morning show and station breaks.''16 Technology 
instead represented that, although its apparent promise of 
promotional mention made to sponsors had since been 
withdrawn, ``the meaning of the aforementioned phrase will 
[not] be explained [until] a later response[,]'' which the 
licensee never provided.17  The Commission has consistently 
held that a party cannot pick and choose which portions of 
Commission directives in a Bureau inquiry letter require 
response, or unilaterally determine when and how it should 
respond.18  Again, in light of the totality of the 
circumstances, we do not believe that imposition of a 
monetary forfeiture for Technology's actions is warranted.  
We caution Technology and other licensees that future 
violations or different circumstances may result in 
substantial forfeiture penalties.  


     9.   Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that Technology 
Information Foundation, Ltd., licensee of low power 
noncommercial educational FM Station WLFK-LP, Eau Claire, 
Wisconsin, IS ADMONISHED for broadcasting advertisements in 
violation of section 399B of the Act, 47 U.S.C. § 399b, and 
section 73.503(d) of the Commission's rules, 47 C.F.R. § 
73.503(d), and for failing to submit required information in 
response to a Commission inquiry.

     10.  IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that copies of this 
Memorandum Opinion and Order shall be sent, by Certified 
Mail -- Return Receipt Requested, to Technology Information 
Foundation, Ltd., 800 Wisconsin Street, Mailbox 108, Eau 
Claire, Wisconsin 54703, and to counsel for the complainant, 
Todd M. Stansbury, Esq., Wiley, Rein & Fielding LLP, 1776 K 
Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20006.


                         William H. Davenport
                         Chief, Investigation & Hearings 
Division                                Enforcement Bureau


Transcript of Prohibited Underwriting Announcements Aired on 
LPFM Station WLFK-LP, Eau Claire, Wisconsin, on November 11, 
                      17 and 18, 2003:

Northern Safari Army Navy Store (36 seconds)

Announcer:  ``Hey, if you need anything for the great 
outdoors, our new sponsor, Northern Safari Army Navy, can 
help you out.  They carry camping supplies, backpacks, 
tents, all season clothing, which is, by the way, where I 
buy all my clothes, military surplus, knives, and paintball; 
that's right, paintball.  How much cooler can you get than 
that?  Basically, it's all the cool stuff you need to have 
fun outside.  Northern Safari is located at 1610 South 
Hastings Way, and if you want to see if they have something 
in stock, you can give them a call at 833-1942.  Northern 
Safari is where I shop, and I think it's cool as hell.''

Westside Cycle (49 seconds)

Male Voice:  ``Hi, this is Chad, owner of Westside Cycle.  
People hate being told by the bigger dealerships that their 
ride is too damn old to be worked on.  Westside Cycle will 
work on any motorcycle, ATV or snowmobile, from regular 
scheduled maintenance to complete rebuilds, custom paint, 
even hand-built choppers.  I've been a mechanic for over 12 
years so your ride is in good hands with me.  In addition to 
service, we sell used motorcycles, and we'll match any 
magazine deal on parts or accessories and order them online 
for next-day delivery.  So if you like dealing with a small 
shop or you get to talk to the owner, then Westside Cycle is 
for you.  We're located at 1620 Westgate Road, off of 
Cameron Street in Eau Claire, or you can reach us by phone 
at 832-8300.''

Female Voice:  ``Westside Cycle:  Keeping the breeze between 
your knees.'' 

1 47 U.S.C. § 399b.

2 47 C.F.R. § 73.503(d) is a noncommercial broadcast rule 
applicable to LPFM licensees through incorporation by § 
73.801.  47 C.F.R. § 73.503(d) allows noncommercial stations 
to air announcements acknowledging underwriter or sponsor 
donations, but prohibits the broadcast of paid announcements 
that promote for-profit underwriters or sponsors.

3 See Letter of William H. Davenport, Chief, Investigations 
and Hearings Division, Enforcement Bureau, to Technology 
Information Foundation, dated August 24, 2004 (``LOI'').

4 See Letter of Wolf Snider, President, Technology 
Information Foundation, Ltd., to Kenneth M. Scheibel, Jr., 
Investigations and Hearings Division, Enforcement Bureau, 
dated September 7, 2004 (``Response'').

5 Response at 3.

6 Id. at 1.  A written transcript of the five announcements 
was attached to the LOI as Exhibits A-E.

7 Response at 1.

8 47 U.S.C. §399b(a). 

9 See In the Matter of the Commission Policy Concerning the 
Noncommercial Nature of Educational Broadcasting Stations , 
Public Notice (1986), republished, 7 FCC Rcd 827 (1992) 
(``Public Notice''). 

12 See Xavier University, Memorandum Opinion and Order, 5 
FCC Rcd 4920 (1990). 

13 Response at 1.    

14 Response at Exhibit C.  

15 See Board of Education of New York (WNYE-TV), Letter of 
Caution, 7 FCC Rcd 6864 (MMB 1992).
 Response at 5.

17 Id. 

18 See, e.g. , American Family Association, Notice of 
Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, 19 FCC Rcd 13750 (EB 
2004), citing SBC Communications, Inc., Forfeiture Order, 17 
FCC Rcd 7589 (2002); Radio Moultrie, Inc., Order to Show 
Cause and Notice of Opportunity for Hearing, 17 FCC Rcd 
24304 (2002); World Communications Satellite Systems, Inc., 
Forfeiture Order, 19 FCC Rcd 2718 (EB 2004).