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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of File No. EB-04-IH-0605
Southern Rhode Island Public Radio Acct. No. 200832080079
Broadcasting, Inc. )
Licensee of Noncommercial Educational )
Station WKIV(FM), Westerly, Rhode Island Facility ID No. 84180
Adopted: March 13, 2008 Released: March 13, 2008
By the Chief, Enforcement Bureau:
1. This Consent Decree is entered into by the Enforcement Bureau of the
Federal Communications Commission and Southern Rhode Island Public
Radio Broadcasting, Inc.
2. For the Purposes of this Consent Decree, the following definitions
a. "Southern" means Southern Rhode Island Public Radio Broadcasting,
b. "Non-Related Company" means a company or organization in which neither
Southern nor its principals, individually or collectively, are an
officer, director, partner, member, manager or holder (directly or
indirectly) of an ownership interest;
c. "Commission" or "FCC" means the Federal Communications Commission;
d. "Bureau" means the Enforcement Bureau of the Federal Communications
e. "Parties" means the Bureau and Southern;
f. "Station" means Station WKIV(FM), Westerly, Rhode Island (Facility ID
g. "Licenses" means all authorizations, permits and licenses issued by
the Commission in connection with the operation of the Station;
h. "Licensee" means the holder of the License;
i. "Act" means the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C.
Section 151 et seq.;
j. "Rules" means the Commission's regulations set forth in Title 47 of
the Code of Federal Regulations;
k. "Underwriting Laws" means Section 399B of the Communications Act of
1934, 47 U.S.C. S: 399b, and Section 73.503(d) of the Commission's
Rules, 47 C.F.R. S: 73.503(d);
l. "Adopting Order" means an order of the Bureau adopting this Consent
m. "Effective Date" means the date on which the Adopting Order is
n. "Investigation" means the investigation conducted by the Bureau
regarding compliance by Southern with the Act and the Rules governing
underwriting announcements by noncommercial educational broadcast
stations in connection with its operation of the Station during the
period November 2004 through February 2005; and
o. "Violations" means violations of Section 399(b) of the Act and Section
73.503(d) of the Rules by Southern, as described in this Consent
3. The Bureau received a complaint dated November 23, 2004, and
supplemented February 25, 2005, alleging that the Station had aired
prohibited underwriting announcements. The complaint resulted in the
commencement of an investigation by the Bureau which revealed apparent
violations with regard to certain underwriting announcements aired
over the Station by Southern during that period (the "Violations").
These announcements appear to have violated Section 399(b) of the Act
and Section 73.503(d) of the Rules because they exceeded the bounds of
what is permissible and within licensee discretion under the Act and
pertinent Commission precedent. Because of this Investigation, the
Station's license renewal application and a pending assignment of
license application have not been granted by the Commission.
4. Southern and the Bureau acknowledge that any proceeding that might
result from the Investigation will require the significant expenditure
of public and private resources. In order to conserve such resources
and to promote compliance by Southern with the Act and the Rules, the
Parties hereby enter into this Consent Decree in consideration of the
mutual commitments made herein.
5. Southern agrees that the Bureau, by delegated authority of the
Commission, has jurisdiction over the matters contained in this
Consent Decree, and the authority to enter into and adopt this Consent
6. Southern agrees to be legally bound by the terms and conditions of
this Consent Decree. Southern represents and warrants that its
signatory is duly authorized to enter into this Consent Decree on its
7. The Parties agree that this Consent Decree will become effective on
the Effective Date. Upon the Effective Date, the Adopting Order and
this Consent Decree will have the same force and effect as any other
order of the Bureau and any violation of the terms of this Consent
Decree will constitute a separate violation of a Bureau order,
entitling the Bureau to subject Southern to enforcement action for
such violation, as well as enforcement action with respect to the
8. Southern admits, solely for the purpose of this Consent Decree and for
FCC civil enforcement purposes, that the information contained in the
Complaint could establish violation(s) of the Underwriting Laws.
Notwithstanding any other provision of this Consent Decree, it is
expressly agreed and understood that if this Consent Decree is
breached by the Bureau, or is invalidated or modified to Southern's
prejudice by the Commission or by any court, then the provisions of
the immediately-preceding sentence shall be of no force or effect
whatsoever, and Southern shall not, by virtue of that sentence or any
other provision of this Consent Decree, be deemed to have made any
admission concerning any announcements broadcast on the Station.
9. In consideration of the terms and conditions set forth herein, the
Bureau agrees to terminate its Investigation. From and after the
Effective Date, in the absence of material new evidence relating to
this matter, the Bureau agrees that it will not use the Violations in
any action against Southern, provided that it satisfies all of its
obligations under this Consent Decree. Nothing in this Consent Decree
will prevent the Bureau from instituting or recommending to the
Commission any new investigation or enforcement proceeding against
Southern in the event of any alleged future misconduct involving
violation of this Consent Decree, or violation of the Act or the
10. Southern agrees that it will make a voluntary contribution to the
United States Treasury in the amount of Seven Thousand Five Hundred
Dollars ($7,500.00) in one installment. Full payment will be made
within five (5) calendar days after the Effective Date of the Adopting
Order. The payment must be made by check or similar instrument,
payable to the order of the Federal Communications Commission. The
payment must include the NAL/Account Number and FRN Number referenced
in the caption to the Adopting Order. Payment by check or money order
may be mailed to Federal Communications Commission, P.O. Box 979088,
St. Louis, MO 63197-9000. Payment by overnight mail may be sent to
U.S. Bank - Government Lockbox #979088, SL-MO-C2-GL, 1005 Convention
Plaza, St. Louis, MO 63101. Payment[s] by wire transfer may be made to
ABA Number 021030004, receiving bank TREAS/NYC, and account number
27000001. For payment by credit card, an FCC Form 159 (Remittance
Advice) must be submitted. When completing the FCC Form 159, enter
the NAL/Account number in block number 23A (call sign/other ID), and
enter the letters "FORF" in block number 24A (payment type code).
11. As a further condition to this agreement, Southern will institute and
follow the terms of a Compliance Plan within thirty (30) days of the
Effective Date. The Plan will include, at a minimum, the following
a. Southern will utilize a multi-level review procedure for underwriting
content to be aired on the Station. All scripts of announcements will
continue to be reviewed, prior to broadcast, for compliance with the
b. Within thirty days of joining Southern, any new station employee hired
by Southern will be trained on acceptable underwriting content that
complies with the Underwriting Laws. In addition, Southern station
employees will be trained on an annual basis regarding existing guidelines
and, where applicable, pertinent changes to the Underwriting Laws.
c. Southern will also implement and maintain a plan to educate prospective
clients about appropriate underwriting content. To that end, Southern will
summarize the Underwriting Laws for each client before it accepts any
contract with the client to air material over Station WKIV(FM). Southern
will not accept any announcement that does not comply with the
12. Southern agrees that any violation of this Consent Decree, including
but not limited to a failure to make any of the payments required by
Paragraph 10 hereof, will constitute a separate violation of a
Commission order and subject each to appropriate administrative
13. This Consent Decree will be binding on Southern's transferees,
successors and assigns, provided that in the event of an assignment or
transfer of the Licenses to a Non-Related Company, only the
obligations of Paragraph 10 will be binding on the assignee or
14. Southern waives any and all rights it may have to seek administrative
or judicial reconsideration, review, appeal or stay, or to otherwise
challenge or contest the validity of this Consent Decree and the
Order, provided the Order adopts the Consent Decree without change,
addition or modification.
15. Southern agrees to waive any claims it may otherwise have under the
Equal Access to Justice Act, 5 U.S.C. Section 504 and 47 C.F.R.
Section 1.1501 et seq., relating to the matters discussed in this
16. Southern agrees that the effectiveness of this Consent Decree is
expressly contingent upon issuance of the Order, provided the Order
adopts the Consent Decree without change, addition or modification.
17. Southern and the Bureau each agrees that if Southern, the Commission
or the United States on behalf of the Commission, brings a judicial
action to enforce the terms of the Order adopting this Consent Decree,
neither Southern nor the Commission will contest the validity of the
Consent Decree or Order, and Southern will waive any statutory right
to a trial de novo with respect to any matter upon which the Order is
based (provided in each case that the Order is limited to adopting the
Consent Decree without change, addition, or modification), and will
consent to a judgment incorporating the terms of this Consent Decree.
18. Southern and the Bureau agree that in the event that this Consent
Decree is rendered invalid by any court of competent jurisdiction, it
will become null and void and may not be used in any manner in any
19. This Consent Decree may be signed in counterparts and/or by telecopy
and, when so executed, the counterparts, taken together, will constitute a
legally binding and enforceable instrument whether executed by telecopy or
by original signatures.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
By: Kris Anne Monteith
Chief, Enforcement Bureau
SOUTHERN RHODE ISLAND PUBLIC RADIO BROADCASTING, INC.
By: Christopher DiPaola, President
At the time of the complaint, the station's call sign was WBLQ(FM).
See 47 U.S.C. S: 399b; 47 C.F.R. S: 73.503(d).
See Xavier University, Letter of Admonition, issued November 14, 1989
(Mass Med. Bur.), recons. granted, Memorandum Opinion and Order, 5 FCC Rcd
See FCC File No. BRED-20060301ADF.
See FCC File No. BALED-20060817ADD.
Federal Communications Commission DA 08-527
Federal Communications Commission DA 08-527