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                                   Before the

                       Federal Communications Commission

                             Washington, D.C. 20554

     In the Matter of                   )   File No. EB-06-IH-3489      
     SONSHINE FAMILY TELEVISION, INC.   )   NAL/Acct. No. 200832080001  
     Licensee of Station WBPH-TV        )   Facility ID No. 60850       
     Bethlehem, Pennsylvania            )   FRN: 0006620066             

                                FORFEITURE ORDER

   Adopted: December 4, 2009 Released: December 7, 2009

   By the Commission:


    1. In this Forfeiture Order, issued pursuant to Section 503(b) of the
       Communications Act of 1934, as amended (the "Act"), we find that
       Sonshine Family Television, Inc. ("Sonshine"), licensee of Station
       WBPH-TV, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, willfully and repeatedly violated
       Section 317(a)(1) of the Act and Section 73.1212(a) of the
       Commission's rules by failing to air required sponsorship
       identification announcements. Based on a review of the facts and
       circumstances, we find Sonshine liable for a forfeiture in the amount
       of $32,000.


    2. This case arises from several thousand complaints filed with the
       Commission in January 2005, alleging payola violations involving
       Armstrong Williams ("Williams"). The complaints, citing national news
       reports, contended that Williams was paid by the Department of
       Education ("DoEd") to promote the No Child Left Behind Act ("NCLB") in
       broadcast programming that he produced or in which he appeared without
       disclosing that fact to viewers or to the stations involved. Many of
       the complaints identified numerous broadcast stations reported to have
       aired such NCLB-related programming, which included the show "The
       Right Side with Armstrong Williams" ("RSAW").

    3. On February 14, 2005, the Enforcement Bureau ("Bureau") issued letters
       of inquiry to Armstrong Williams' media company, Graham Williams Group
       ("GWG"), and to public-relations firm Ketchum, Inc. ("Ketchum").
       Ketchum was the prime contractor with DoEd in connection with that
       department's campaign to promote NCLB and GWG was a subcontractor of
       Ketchum's in that endeavor. GWG and Ketchum responded to the LOIs.

    4. The Bureau reviewed this evidence and identified those episodes in
       which discussions of NCLB topics took place during the programs, but
       no sponsorship disclosures appeared to have been made. The Bureau
       thereafter issued further letters of inquiry to Sonshine, which the
       Bureau identified as potentially having aired the programs.

    5. In its response, Sonshine acknowledged that Station WBPH-TV aired five
       different episodes of RSAW entitled "What is Faith," "Year End
       Review," "Young Americans in Government," "National Security," and "On
       Point with Rod Paige," on a total of ten occasions during the period
       January 4, 2004, through July 5, 2004. During these episodes Williams
       discussed the NCLB program. Although Sonshine's agreement with
       Williams "call[ed] for payment of a nominal fee of $100 to [it] for
       each broadcast," Sonshine acknowledged that "in all likelihood" its
       station aired them without including any sponsorship identification,
       because it believed no identification was necessary. Sonshine asserted
       that any lack of sponsorship identifications was harmless and did not
       violate Commission rules because the consideration exchanged was
       nominal, it had no basis to conclude that sponsorship identifications
       were required, and the sponsor of each broadcast was clear despite
       lack of such identifications.

    6. On October 18, 2007, the Commission released a Notice of Apparent
       Liability for Forfeiture ("NAL"). In the NAL, we found that Sonshine
       had failed to air required sponsorship identification announcements,
       in apparent violation of the sponsorship identification laws and
       rules, 47 U.S.C. S: 317(a)(1) and 47 C.F.R. S: 73.1212. Specifically,
       we found that Sonshine aired five episodes of the program "The Right
       Side with Armstrong Williams" ten times between January 4, 2004 and
       July 5, 2004, in consideration for $100 per broadcast, without airing
       required sponsorship identification announcements. Accordingly, we
       proposed a forfeiture of $40,000 against Sonshine.

    7. On November 19, 2007, Sonshine responded to the NAL, requesting the
       forfeiture be cancelled or reduced.  Sonshine maintains that its
       violation was minor, and that it had made a good faith effort to
       comply with the Commission's rules. It also asserts that it is unable
       to pay the proposed forfeiture. In support of its claimed inability to
       pay, Sonshine submitted audited financial statements for the three
       most recent tax years and additional information concerning its
       expenses. Finally, Sonshine argues that it has a history of complying
       with the Commission's rules.


    8. Under Section 503(b)(1) of 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 forfeiture
       penalty. Section 312(f)(1) of the Act defines willful as "the
       conscious and deliberate commission or omission of [any] act,
       irrespective of any intent to violate" the law. The legislative
       history to Section 312(f)(1) of the Act clarifies that this definition
       of willful applies to both Sections 312 and 503(b) of the Act and the
       Commission has so interpreted the term in the Section 503(b) context.
       The Commission may also assess a forfeiture for violations that are
       merely repeated, and not willful.  "Repeated" means that the act was
       committed or omitted more than once, or lasts more than one day. To
       impose such a forfeiture penalty, the Commission must issue a notice
       of apparent liability 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.

    9. In its response to the NAL, Sonshine does not deny that it violated
       the Commission's rules, and we find by a preponderance of the evidence
       that Sonshine willfully and repeatedly engaged in the violations
       described in the NAL. More specifically, we find that Sonshine
       willfully and repeatedly violated Section 317(a)(1) of the Act and
       Section 73.1212(a) of the Commission's rules by failing to air
       required sponsorship identification announcements.

   10. We now turn to the proposed forfeiture amount, which in this case was
       assessed in accordance with Section 503(b) of the Communications Act,
       Section 1.80 of the Commission's rules, and the Commission's
       forfeiture guidelines set forth in its Forfeiture Policy Statement. In
       assessing forfeitures, Section 503(b) 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 other
       matters as justice may require. As discussed further below, we have
       examined Sonshine's response to the NAL pursuant to the aforementioned
       statutory factors, our rules, and the Forfeiture Policy Statement, and
       find no basis for cancellation of the forfeiture but reduce the
       forfeiture amount from $40,000 to $32,000.

   11. First, Sonshine asserts that its violation was minor because Williams
       hosted and produced the program, and these facts would have informed
       the public about who sought to persuade them of messages contained in
       the program, implying that such information, in and of itself,
       constituted an adequate identification under the circumstances of this
       case. We rejected this argument in the NAL, however, and Sonshine
       advances no new reason for us to revisit that conclusion here.

   12. Sonshine further asserts that the NAL "did not...address how an
       additional announcement would have accomplished the purpose of the
       sponsorship identification rules, i.e., to inform the public
       concerning by whom they are being persuaded. . . . " Sonshine claims
       that the NAL also did not address "the apparent inconsistent standard
       toward sponsorship identification requirements for public affairs
       programs on the major television networks and the Enforcement Bureau's
       standard for public affairs programs acquired by independent
       television stations." Sonshine appears to suggest that the Commission
       is unfairly imposing sponsorship identification requirements on it
       that would not apply to television networks. These arguments lack
       merit. First, the NAL explained at length why the Commission's rules
       insist on proper sponsorship identification to prevent public
       confusion or misunderstanding. Second, the instant case is
       distinguishable from situations where a station may have, in fact,
       purchased programming under a barter-type arrangement. In barter- type
       arrangements, which can include network affiliation agreements, the
       program supplier provides the station its program, which the station
       purchases by allowing the program provider to use some or all of the
       station's advertising airtime during the program. Thus, in barter
       arrangements the broadcaster effectively purchases programming in
       exchange for valuable consideration in the form of advertising time,
       thereby immunizing the exchange from the sponsorship identification
       requirement. Here, Sonshine accepted money in exchange for agreeing to
       air the programs, rather than purchasing them under a barter-type
       arrangement, and thereafter failed to make the sponsorship
       identifications that were required. Finally, to the extent that
       Sonshine is describing network affiliates as somehow immune from
       sponsorship identification disclosure requirements, it has failed to
       cite any precedent demonstrating that the Commission has granted such
       immunity. Accordingly, Sonshine has failed to demonstrate that the
       Commission has treated it unfairly by imposing a sponsorship
       identification requirement.

   13. Sonshine also asserts that its good faith efforts to comply with the
       Commission's rules merit a cancellation or reduction of the forfeiture
       amount. It points to its practices and policies concerning compliance
       with sponsorship identification rules, and contends that the
       Commission should regard its lack of compliance here as a "poorly
       informed, but good faith, misunderstanding of the specific
       requirements of the sponsorship identification rules." We have
       previously reduced a forfeiture when the licensee has voluntarily
       disclosed its conduct or taken corrective measures to remedy its
       conduct before an investigation. The record evidence does not suggest,
       however, that Sonshine took either of these steps. Accordingly, we
       decline to cancel or reduce the forfeiture amount on this basis.

   14. Sonshine also claims that it is unable to pay the assessed forfeiture,
       and in support submits its audited financial statements for each of
       the last three years. The Commission generally considers gross revenue
       as the best indication of a licensee's inability to pay as
       demonstrated by audited financial statements. If gross revenues are
       substantial, then the mere fact that the business is operating at a
       loss does not necessarily preclude forfeiture liability based on
       inability to pay. Based on our review of Sonshine's financial
       statements and the other materials submitted by the licensee, we find
       no reason to reduce the forfeiture based on Sonshine's assertion that
       it is unable to pay. The forfeiture is an appropriate percentage of
       Sonshine's total operating revenues in recent years and is consistent
       with Commission precedent.

   15. Finally, Sonshine asks that we consider cancelling or reducing the
       forfeiture amount based on its history of overall compliance with the
       Commission's rules. We have reviewed our records and note no other
       violations by Sonshine. Under similar circumstances, we have reduced
       proposed forfeitures, and we find that doing so in this case is
       appropriate. Consequently, we reduce Sonshine's forfeiture amount from
       $40,000 to $32,000.


   16. 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 Commission's rules,
       Sonshine Family Television, Inc., IS LIABLE FOR A MONETARY FORFEITURE
       in the amount of $32,000 for its willful and repeated violation of
       Section 317(a)(1) of the Act and Section 73.1212(a) of the
       Commission's rules.

   17. 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
       Forfeiture 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. 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/Account Number and FRN Number referenced above.
       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 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). Requests for full payment under
       an installment plan should be sent to:  Chief Financial Officer --
       Financial Operations, 445 12th Street, S.W., Room 1-A625, Washington,
       D.C.  20554.   Please contact the Financial Operations Group Help Desk
       at 1-877-480-3201 or Email: with any questions
       regarding payment procedures.  Sonshine Family Television, Inc. will
       also send electronic notification on the date said payment is made to,, and

   18. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a copy of this Forfeiture Order shall be
       sent by First Class Mail and Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested
       to Sonshine Family Television, Inc., 813 N. Fenwick Street, Allentown,
       Pennsylvania 18109, and to its counsel, J. Geoffrey Bentley, Esq.,
       2700 Copper Creek Road, Oak Hill, Virginia 20171.


   Marlene H. Dortch


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

   47 U.S.C. S: 317(a)(1).

   47 C.F.R. S: 73.1212(a).

   See Sonshine Family Television, Inc., Notice of Apparent Liability for
   Forfeiture, 22 FCC Rcd 18686, 18689 (2007) ("NAL").

   See id. at 18689-90.

   See id. at 18690.

   See Letters from William Freedman, Deputy Chief, Investigations & Hearings
   Division, Enforcement Bureau, to Williams and Ketchum, dated February 14,

   See NAL at 18690.

   See Letter from GWG to Kenneth M. Scheibel, Jr., Attorney, Investigations
   & Hearings Division, Enforcement Bureau, dated April 6, 2005, and Letter
   from Ketchum to William D. Freedman, Deputy Chief, Investigations &
   Hearings Division, Enforcement Bureau, dated April 13, 2005.

   See NAL at 18690.

   See Letters from Benigno E. Bartolome, Jr., Deputy Chief, Investigations &
   Hearings Division, Enforcement Bureau, to Sonshine, dated November 7,
   2006, and January 31, 2007.

   As noted in the NAL, this episode was referred to in our LOI to Sonshine
   as entitled "Young Americans in Government," but that title actually
   describes only the second segment of the episode. The first segment was
   denominated "Profile of a Candidate." The title appearing at the beginning
   of the whole episode - "Profile of Candidate/Americans" - appears to be a
   composite of both segments' titles. See NAL at 18690 n.19.

   See id. at 18690 n.20. Specifically, Sonshine acknowledges that it aired
   the following episodes of RSAW over Station WBPH-TV: "What is Faith" aired
   on January 6, March 4, March 8, and April 30, 2004; "Year End Review"
   aired on January 4, 2004; "Young Americans in Government" aired on January
   5, 2004; "National Security" aired on April 23, 2004; and "On Point with
   Rod Paige" aired on March 19, April 12 and July 5, 2004. See Letters from
   Sonshine to Benigno E. Bartolome, Jr., Deputy Chief, Investigations &
   Hearings Division, Enforcement Bureau, dated December 22, 2006, March 2,
   2007 and March 23, 2007. (The last response will hereinafter be the "March
   23rd Response.").

   See March 23rd Response at 2.

   See id. at 2-5.

   See NAL at 18686.

   See id.

   See id.

   See id.

   See Response to Notice of Apparent Liability, filed November 19, 2007
   ("NAL Response").

   See id. at 2-3.

   See id. at 3-5.

   See id. at 6-37. Sonshine requested confidential treatment for these

   See id. at 3.

   47 U.S.C. S: 503(b)(1)(B); 47 C.F.R. S: 1.80(a)(1); see also 47 U.S.C. S:

   47 U.S.C. S: 312(f)(1).

   H.R. Rep. No. 97-765, 97th Cong. 2d Sess. 51 (1982).

   See, e.g., Application for Review of Southern California Broadcasting Co.,
   Memorandum Opinion and Order, 6 FCC Rcd 4387, 4388 (1991) ("Southern
   California Broadcasting Co.").

   See, e.g., Callais Cablevision, Inc., Grand Isle, Louisiana, Notice of
   Apparent Liability for Monetary Forfeiture, 16 FCC Rcd 1359, 1362, P: 10
   (2001) ("Callais Cablevision") (issuing a Notice of Apparent Liability
   for, inter alia, a cable television operator's repeated signal leakage).

   Southern California Broadcasting Co., 6 FCC Rcd at 4388, P: 5; Callais
   Cablevision, Inc., 16 FCC Rcd at 1362, P: 9.

   47 U.S.C. S: 503(b); 47 C.F.R. S: 1.80(f).

   See, e.g., SBC Communications, Inc.,  Forfeiture Order, 17 FCC Rcd 7589,
   7591, P: 4 (2002) (forfeiture paid).

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

   See 47 C.F.R. S: 1.80.

   See 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 (1997), recons. denied, 15 FCC Rcd 303 (1999)
   ("Forfeiture Policy Statement").

   See 47 U.S.C. S: 503(b)(2)(E).

   See NAL Response at 2

   See NAL at 18694.

   See NAL Response at 2 n.2 (internal quotation marks omitted) (emphasis in
   original omitted).

   See id.

   NAL, 22 FCC Rcd at 18694 P: 16.

   See Review of the Commission's Regulations Governing Television
   Broadcasting, Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making, 10 FCC Rcd 3524,
   3583 n.159 (1995) (citing Revision of Radio Rules and Policies, Report and
   Order, 7 FCC Rcd 2755, 2784 n.113 (1992)) (describing network affiliation
   agreements as a variant of time brokerage whereby the local affiliate
   sells time to the network in exchange for desirable programming, station
   compensation, and the opportunity to place local commercials within
   popular national programs).

   See Complaint of National Association for Better Broadcasting, Memorandum
   Opinion and Order, 4 FCC Rcd 4988 (1989), affirmed sub nom., National
   Association for Better Broadcasting v. Federal Communications Commission,
   902 F.2d 1009 (D.C. Cir. 1990) (unpublished) (holding that sponsorship
   identification was not required when station purchased syndicated program
   with advertising time of more than nominal value, and that sponsorship
   identification would be required had station received programming for free
   or for nominal payment).

   47 U.S.C. S: 317(a)(1) (requiring sponsorship identification when a
   station accepts money for broadcasting a program); 47 C.F.R. S:

   See NAL Response at 2-3.

   See id. at 3.

   See Note to Section 1.80(b)(4) of the rules, 47 C.F.R. S: 1.80(b)(4)
   (listing "Good faith or voluntary disclosure" as a basis for adjusting
   forfeitures downward); Radio One Licenses, Inc., Memorandum Opinion and
   Order, 18 FCC Rcd 15964, 15965 (2003), recons. denied, Memorandum Opinion
   and Order, 18 FCC Rcd 25481 (2003) (reducing $5,200 forfeiture assessed
   for Emergency Alert System rule violations to $4,000 due to the licensee's
   corrective measures prior to an investigation).

   In its NAL Response, Sonshine requested confidential treatment of certain
   business information contained in exhibits to its submission. See NAL
   Response at 3. This Forfeiture Order discusses information that does not
   pertain to that request, and it does not list specific revenues or
   expenses. Accordingly, we need not rule on Sonshine's request. Until we do
   so rule, we will honor Sonshine's request for confidential treatment of
   these materials.

   See Forfeiture Policy Statement, 12 FCC Rcd 17087, 17107 (1999) (internal
   citations omitted).

   See id. at 17107.

   See PJB Communications of Virginia, Inc., Memorandum Opinion and Order, 7
   FCC Rcd 2088, 2089 (1992) (forfeiture not deemed excessive where it
   represented approximately 2.02 percent of the violator's gross revenues);
   Hoosier Broadcasting Corporation, Memorandum Opinion and Order, 15 FCC Rcd
   8640, 8641 (Enf. Bur. 2002) (forfeiture not deemed excessive where it
   represented approximately 7.6 percent of the violator's gross revenues);
   Afton Communications Corporation, Memorandum Opinion and Order, 7 FCC Rcd
   6741, 6742 (CCB 1992) (subsequent history omitted) (forfeiture not deemed
   excessive where it represented approximately 3.9% of the violator's
   operating revenues). In this case, the forfeiture represents a smaller
   percentage than those that issued in Hoosier Broadcasting Corp., and only
   a nominally higher percentage compared to the forfeitures issued in PJB
   Communications of Virginia, Inc., and Afton Communications Corporation. We
   note, in particular, that although we used an average revenue including
   Sonshine's 2004 revenues to calculate the percentage, the forfeiture is
   particularly reasonable in light of Sonshine's greater revenues in 2005
   and 2006, of which it forms an even lower percentage.

   See NAL Response at 3.

   See, e.g., SM Radio, Inc., Order on Review, 23 FCC Rcd 2429, 2430-2431
   (2008) (affirming forfeiture reduction from $7,000 to $5,600 due to
   licensee's history of compliance); Radio X Broadcasting Corporation,
   Memorandum Opinion and Order, 21 FCC Rcd 12209 (2006) (affirming
   forfeiture reduction from $20,000 to $16,000 due to licensee's history of

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

   See 47 C.F.R. S:S: 0.111, 0.311, 1.80(f)(4).

   See 47 U.S.C. S: 317(a)(1).

   See 47 C.F.R. S: 73.1212(a).

   See 47 U.S.C. S: 504(a).

   (...continued from previous page)


   Federal Communications Commission FCC 09-108


   Federal Communications Commission FCC 09-108