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                                   Before the

                       Federal Communications Commission

                             Washington, D.C. 20554

     In the Matter of                                                        
     Gaston College                                                          
                                           )   File No. EB-05-IH-0219        
     Licensee of Noncommercial                                               
     Educational                           )   NAL Account No. 200732080021  
     Station WSGE(FM), Dallas, North       )   FRN No. 0009387226            
     Facility I.D. No. 23324                                                 


   Adopted:   March 7, 2007  Released: March 7, 2007

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


    1. In this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture ("NAL"), we find
       that Gaston College, licensee of Noncommercial Educational Station
       WSGE(FM), Dallas, North Carolina (the "Station"), willfully and
       repeatedly violated Section 73.3527 of the Commission's rules relating
       to a noncommercial licensee's obligation to properly maintain and make
       available a public inspection file.  For the following reasons, we
       conclude that Gaston College is apparently liable for the base
       forfeiture amount of $10,000.


    2. On March 7, 2005, the Commission received a complaint (the
       "Complaint") from J. Davidson Morrison (the "Complainant"), who
       alleges that licensee Gaston College prohibited him from viewing the
       Station's public inspection file consistent with Commission rules on
       two separate visits made to the Station's main studio. According to
       the Complainant, during his first visit on March 3, 2005, he asked to
       review the public inspection file, but was told by a Station employee
       to come back another day. He states that after he informed the Station
       employee that FCC rules require that the file must be made available
       on request during regular business hours, the employee directed him to
       a drawer containing some Station documents, but that the drawer did
       not contain the public inspection file. Meanwhile, the Station
       employee contacted the Station's General Manager, Stephanie
       Michael-Pickett, who, upon arrival, also directed the Complainant to
       the same drawer. Shortly thereafter, the College's Vice President for
       Finance and Operations, Ralph Huddin, arrived and told the Complainant
       that he could not look through the files without first making an
       appointment with Gaston College's attorney. While still at the
       Station, he was asked to take a call from Gaston College's attorney,
       Carl Stewart, who directed him to leave the Station and the college's
       campus or he would be arrested. The Complainant states that he left
       without viewing the public inspection file.

    3. The Complainant further alleges that, on advice from his legal
       counsel, he gave Station management time to review the FCC rules
       regarding public inspection files before returning to the Station the
       next day, on March 4, 2005. He states that he visited the Station
       again and was told by the Station's General Manager that he first
       needed an appointment with Gaston College's attorney to view the
       public inspection file. After informing the General Manager that such
       a policy was illegal, he was permitted to review a public inspection
       file binder and a hanging folder. Upon review of the binder and
       hanging folder, he states that he noticed that the FCC publication,
       "The Public and Broadcasting," a copy of which is required under the
       rules to be maintained, was omitted from the public inspection file.
       When he inquired about the absence of the publication, he was provided
       with a copy. He states that he also discovered that the required
       issues/programs list and equal employment opportunity ("EEO") report
       were also missing from the public inspection file, but were later
       provided after he inquired about them. He asserts that the
       issues/programs list was incomplete.

    4. The Enforcement Bureau (the "Bureau") issued a letter of inquiry (the
       "LOI") to the licensee, which directed the licensee to respond to,
       inter alia, the allegations in the Complaint. The licensee, through
       its counsel, responded to the allegations. Although the licensee
       generally does not dispute the allegations in the Complaint, the
       licensee characterizes the Complainant's behavior during the first
       visit as "hostile," and asks the Bureau to view the Complaint in the
       context of its past dealings with the Complainant's employer, Columbia
       Bible College. In this regard, the licensee contends that Columbia
       Bible College has been engaged in a "pattern of harassment and
       intimidation" by pursuing FCC proceedings against it, and that
       Columbia Bible College's actions, through the Complainant, are
       motivated by its prior unsuccessful efforts to acquire the Station.
       The licensee alleges that Columbia Bible College is attempting to
       misuse the Commission's processes to force Gaston College to sell the


    5. Under Section 503(b)(1) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended
       (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 monetary forfeiture penalty. In
       order to impose such 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 forfeiture penalty should
       be imposed. The Commission will then issue a forfeiture if it finds by
       a preponderance of the evidence that the person has violated the Act
       or a Commission rule. As we set forth in greater detail below, we
       conclude under this standard that the Station is apparently liable for
       a forfeiture for its apparent willful violation of Section 73.3527 of
       the Commission's rules.

    6. Section 73.3527 of the Commission's rules requires noncommercial
       educational stations to maintain a public inspection file containing
       specific types of information related to station operations.
       Specifically, subsection (b) of the rule provides that "[t]he public
       inspection file shall be maintained at the main studio of the
       station," and subsection (c) requires that "[t]he file shall be
       available for public inspection at any time during regular business
       hours." Some examples of specific materials required for inclusion in
       the file are the station's quarterly issues/programs lists, equal
       employment opportunity file, and a copy of the most recent version of
       the manual entitled "The Public and Broadcasting." All broadcast
       stations have an obligation to serve their local community's needs and
       interests and to comply with certain programming and other rules.
       Because we do not monitor a station's programming, viewers and
       listeners are a vital source of information about the programming and
       possible rule violations. The documents in each station's public
       inspection file have information about the station that can assist the
       public in this important role.

    7. Based on our review of the record, we find that licensee Gaston
       College apparently violated Section 73.3527 when it failed to provide
       access to its public inspection file to a member of the public upon
       request and in a manner consistent with the rule. Gaston College
       discourages us from making such a finding, contending that the
       underlying basis for the Complaint is to harass and intimidate the
       licensee. In our overall evaluation of the facts of the case, however,
       we find no basis for excusing Gaston College from fully complying with
       the requirements of Section 73.3527. Significantly, Gaston College, in
       its LOI response, acknowledges that it initially refused to grant the
       Complainant access to the Station's public inspection file; the
       Station's General Manager later made attempts to show the Complainant
       the file, but that the file could not be located; the Complainant was
       instructed to return at a later time and to make sure to make an
       appointment with Gaston College's attorney first before returning to
       the Station; and that the attorney spoke with the Complainant by
       telephone that day and asked the Complainant to leave the facility.
       These admissions make clear that the licensee willfully failed to
       comply with the public inspection file requirements.

    8. As stated above, the FCC's public inspection file rule provides that
       this file must be available for inspection during a station's normal
       business hours. This rule has been interpreted to mean that the public
       inspection file should "be available for immediate inspection by
       members of the public," which the Station, in this case, failed to do
       during the Complainant's visits on March 3 and 4, 2005. Although the
       Complainant was eventually permitted to review the Station's public
       inspection file on March 4^th, the record shows that the file, upon
       initial review, did not contain all the materials required under
       Section 73.3527(e), and that the Complainant had to specifically
       request to see the missing materials (e.g., a recent copy of the "The
       Public and Broadcasting"). On this point, the licensee acknowledges
       that "the public file was generally organized, though it may have been
       less organized than usual since [then-Station Manager Jeff Powell] was
       in the midst of reviewing it and updating it." We remind the licensee
       that the Commission has held that "a simple request to see the file
       should be sufficient to elicit the complete file" without further
       necessity of asking for documents piecemeal. The Commission, moreover,
       has stated that "[m]embers of the public cannot be required to inspect
       that file only through prior appointments or at times most convenient
       to the licensee . . . ." Here, Station employees instructed the
       Complainant during two separate visits to first make an appointment
       before coming to the Station to view the public inspection file.

    9. Gaston College argues that its failure to comply with the rule was the
       result of a misunderstanding about the whereabouts of the file because
       the file was in the process of being updated. Notwithstanding Gaston
       College's admissions (as recited above) which, alone, serve as a
       sufficient basis for a finding of a rule violation, the record does
       not show that the licensee and its employees explained to the
       Complainant why the file was unavailable. Furthermore, we do not find
       this to be a reasonable excuse for the Station's failure to provide
       access to the public inspection file. To condone excuses such as this
       one would render the public inspection process meaningless.

   10. Based upon the evidence before us, we find that the Station apparently
       willfully and repeatedly violated Section 73.3527 of the Commission's
       rules. Section 1.80 of the Commission's Rules sets a base forfeiture
       amount of $10,000 for public file violations. In its LOI Response,
       Gaston College requests that if the Bureau determines that a violation
       occurred, it impose an admonishment rather than a forfeiture. In
       support of this request, Gaston College cites Tabback Broadcasting and
       American Family Association, each an admonishment against a radio
       station for a public file violation. In Tabback Broadcasting, the
       Audio Services Division considered a petition to deny the licensee's
       renewal application. According to that petition, the petitioners
       visited the licensee's studio three times over a six week period, and
       requested to see the public file during each visit. They were denied
       access the public file twice, and viewed the public file once. After
       the petitioners' third visit, the licensee contacted the Audio
       Services Division for clarification of its public file obligations.
       Once the licensee was told that it must make the public file
       accessible during normal weekly business hours, the licensee did so.
       The Audio Services Division concluded that these facts did not
       indicate a pattern of abuse sufficient to deny the renewal
       application, and admonished the licensee for twice failing to make the
       public file available.

   11. In American Family Association, the Enforcement Bureau canceled a
       proposed forfeiture against a noncommercial station whose public file
       was found to be incomplete during an FCC inspection. The licensee
       argued that, although the physical file was incomplete, the missing
       materials were on-site and simply had not yet been placed in the file.
       The Bureau concluded that, although the licensee had failed to
       maintain a complete public file in violation of Section 73.3527(e) of
       the Commission's rules, cancellation of the proposed forfeiture was
       appropriate because the licensee had made a good faith attempt to
       comply with the public file rules.

   12. Contrary to Gaston College's contention, neither case controls here.
       As noted above, the Tabback Broadcasting decision focused on the
       choice between admonishment and license non-renewal, and did not
       discuss whether the licensee willfully or repeatedly violated the
       public file rule - the standard for issuing a forfeiture penalty.
       American Family Association is also not on point because that case
       concerned a station that - unlike here - immediately produced its
       public file upon request. While the public file itself was incomplete,
       the Enforcement Bureau concluded that an admonishment was appropriate
       because the licensee had made a good faith effort to maintain a
       complete file. The licensee here does not claim to have made such a
       good faith effort to comply with the public file rules. Rather, the
       undisputed facts are that the licensee explicitly refused to make the
       public file available upon request, and ordered the Complainant to
       leave the station without viewing the file.

   13. Compliance with the public file rule is vitally important because the
       rule "safeguards the public's ability to assess the station's service
       and to meaningfully participate at the station's renewal process."  In
       the Forfeiture Policy Statement, the Commission found that omission of
       even a single item from the public file is a serious violation because
       it "diminishes the public's ability to determine and comment on
       whether the station is serving the community." Accordingly, the
       Commission set the base forfeiture amount for public file violations
       at $10,000 - for broadcasters, only misrepresentation carries a higher
       base forfeiture amount.

   14. If omission of a single document from the public file is a serious
       violation, the outright refusal to produce the public file is even
       more egregious. In this case, we believe the violation was
       sufficiently serious that we will propose a forfeiture at the base
       amount of $10,000, due to the Station's outright refusal to make the
       file available to a member of the public on more than one occasion,
       and the fact that the file was incomplete when it was finally made
       available. This amount is supported by our precedent. To the extent
       Gaston College wishes to provide evidence of its history of compliance
       with FCC rules, or its inability to pay the proposed forfeiture, it
       may do so in its response to this Order.


   15. ACCORDINGLY, IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to Section 503(b) of the
       Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and Sections 0.111, 0.311, and
       1.80 of the Commission's Rules, Gaston College is hereby NOTIFIED of
       its APPARENT LIABILITY FOR A FORFEITURE in the amount of $10,000 for
       willfully violating Section 73.3527 of the Commission's rules.

   16. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, pursuant to Section 1.80 of the
       Commission's rules, within 30 days of the release date of this Notice
       of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, Gaston College SHALL PAY the
       full amount of the proposed forfeiture or SHALL FILE a written
       statement seeking reduction or cancellation of the proposed

   17. 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 in the
       caption.  Payment by check or money order may be mailed to Federal
       Communications Commission, P.O. Box 358340, Pittsburgh, PA
       15251-8340.  Payment by overnight mail may be sent to Mellon
       Bank /LB 358340, 500 Ross Street, Room 1540670, Pittsburgh, PA
       15251.   Payment by wire transfer may be made to ABA Number 043000261,
       receiving bank Mellon Bank, and account number 9116229.

   18. Requests for payment of the full amount of this NAL under an
       installment plan should be sent to Deputy Chief Financial Officer,
       Room 1-A637, Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street, S.W.,
       Washington, DC 20554.

   19. The response, if any, to this Notice of Apparent Liability for
       Forfeiture shall be mailed to Hillary S. DeNigro, Chief,
       Investigations and Hearings Division, Enforcement Bureau, Federal
       Communications Commission, 445 12^th Street, S.W., Suite 4-C330,
       Washington, D.C. 20554, and must include the NAL/Acct. No. referenced
       in the caption.

   20. The Commission will not consider reducing or canceling a forfeiture in
       response to a claim of inability to pay unless the respondent submits:
       (1) federal tax returns for the most recent three-year period; (2)
       financial statements prepared according to generally accepted
       accounting practices; or (3) some other reliable and objective
       documentation that accurately reflects the respondent's current
       financial status. Any claim of inability to pay must specifically
       identify the basis for the claim by reference to the financial
       documentation submitted.

   21. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the complaint filed by J. Davidson Morrison
       IS GRANTED to the extent indicated herein and IS OTHERWISE DENIED, and
       the complaint proceeding IS HEREBY TERMINATED.

   22. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a copy of this Notice of Apparent Liability
       for Forfeiture shall be sent by Certified Mail - Return Receipt
       Requested, and regular mail, to the Licensee at its address of record
       and to counsel for the complainant, Robert J. Rini, Esquire, Rini
       Coran, PC, 1501 M Street, N.W. Suite 1150, Washington, DC 20005.


   Hillary S. DeNigro

   Chief, Investigations and Hearings Division

   Enforcement Bureau

   See 47 C.F.R. S 73.3527.

   See Letter from J.Davidson Morrison to Enforcement Bureau, Federal
   Communications Commission (the "FCC" or "Commission"), dated March 4, 2005
   (the "Complaint") (transmitted by letter from Robert J. Rini, Esq., Rini
   Coran P.C. to FCC, Enforcement Bureau dated March 7, 2005).

   See id. at 1.

   See id.

   See id.

   See id.

   See id.

   See id.

   See id.

   See id. at 2.

   See id.

   See id.

   See id.

   See Letter from William D. Freedman, Deputy Chief, Investigations and
   Hearings Division, Enforcement Bureau, FCC, to Gaston College, dated
   January 20, 2006.

   See Letter from Stephen Hartzell, Esq., counsel for Gaston College, to Tom
   Hutton, Assistant Chief, Investigations and Hearings Division, Enforcement
   Bureau, FCC, dated March 6, 2006, (the "Response Cover Letter")
   transmitting Gaston College Response and attached exhibits (the "LOI
   Response"). J. Davidson Morrison responded to the College's LOI Response
   by letter from J.Davidson Morrison, to Tom Hutton, Assistant Chief,
   Investigations and Hearings Division, Enforcement Bureau, FCC, dated March
   22, 2006 (transmitted by letter from Robert J. Rini, Esq., Rini Coran P.C.
   to Tom Hutton, Assistant Chief, Investigations and Hearings Division,
   Enforcement Bureau, FCC, dated March 23, 2006) ("Complainant's Reply").

   See Response Cover Letter at 2.

   See id. at 2-3.

   See id.

   See 47 C.F.R. S 73.3527. Comparable requirements also apply to commercial
   stations. See 47 C.F.R. S 73.3526.

   47 C.F.R. S 73.3527(b) & (c).

   See 47 C.F.R. S 73.3527(e).

   See Response Cover Letter at 2.

   See LOI Response at 5-6.

   Thomas P. Brunnock, Letter Ruling, 50 RR.2d 1313, 1314 (1982). Accord
   Riverside Broadcasting, Inc., Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture,
   15 FCC Rcd 18322, 18323 P 5 (Enf. Bur., Investigations & Hearings Div.

   LOI Response at 6.

   See, e.g., Review of the Commission's Rules Regarding the Main Studio and
   Local Public Inspection Files of Broadcast Television and Radio Stations,
   Report and Order, 13 FCC Rcd 15691, 15700-06 PP 18 and 32 (1998)
   (explaining that, because the public may not be aware of the required
   contents of public inspection files, the rule specifically requires that
   the file contain the most recent version of the manual, "The Public and
   Broadcasting," which details the required contents of the public
   inspection file and describes the public's role in monitoring a "station's
   operations and public interest performance. . . . ").

   License Renewal Applications of Certain Commercial Television Stations
   Service Philadelphia, Memorandum Opinion and Order, 67 RR.2d 1567, 1573

   See LOI Response at 3.

   See 47 C.F.R. S 1.80.

   See LOI Response at 4.

   See Application of Tabback Broadcasting Co. for Renewal of License of
   Station KAZM(AM), Sedona, Arizona, Letter Ruling, File No. 1800B3-JR (Mass
   Media Bur., Audio Services Div. 1999) ("Tabback Broadcasting"), aff'd on
   review, Memorandum Opinion and Order, 15 FCC Rcd 11899 (2000).

   See American Family Association, Inc., Memorandum Opinion and Order, 18
   FCC Rcd 16530 (Enf. Bur. 2003).

   Tabback Broadcasting at 6.

   See American Family Association, 18 FCC Rcd at 16532 P 9.


   47 U.S.C. S 503(b).

   American Family Association, 18 FCC Rcd at 16532 P 9.

   New Life Broadcasting, Inc., Forfeiture Order, 21 FCC Rcd 8641 P10 (Enf.
   Bur., South Central Region 2006). See also Faith Christian Music Broadcast
   Industries, Inc., Forfeiture Order, 20 FCC Rcd 19051 (Media Bur. 2005).

   The Commission's Forfeiture Policy Statement and Amendment of Section 1.80
   of the Rules to Incorporate the Forfeiture Guidelines, Report and Order,
   12 FCC Rcd 17087, 17104-05 P39 (1999) (subsequent history omitted)
   ("Forfeiture Policy Statement").

   Misrepresentation has the statutory maximum amount (currently $32,500 for
   broadcasters) as its base forfeiture amount. 47 C.F.R. S 1.80(b)(4)(note).

   See, e.g., Blountstown Communications, Inc., Memorandum Opinion and Order,
   DA 07-230 (Enf. Bur. rel. Jan. 29, 2007) (denying reconsideration of
   $10,000 forfeiture for failure to make public file available to requesting
   FCC agent; ultimately reducing forfeiture due to history of compliance);
   M&R Enterprises, Inc., Forfeiture Order, 17 FCC Rcd 14608 (Enf. Bur. 2002)
   (finding a $10,000 forfeiture for failure to provide access to public
   inspection file on two occasions, but ultimately reducing to $5,000 due to
   licensee's inability to pay); Riverside Broadcasting, Inc., Notice of
   Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, 15 FCC Rcd 18322 (Enf. Bur. 2000)
   (finding licensee apparently liable for $10,000 forfeiture for denying
   access to station's public inspection file on two different dates) (NAL

   See 47 C.F.R. S 1.1914.

   For purposes of the forfeiture proceeding initiated by this NAL, Gaston
   College shall be the only party to this proceeding.

   (...continued from previous page)


   Federal Communications Commission DA 07-1073


   Federal Communications Commission DA 07-1073