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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of )
Christian Family Network, Inc. ) File Number EB-06-DT-277
Former Licensee of AM Station WOLY ) NAL/Acct. No. 200732360001
Battle Creek, Michigan ) FRN: 0010140358
Facility ID #11032 )
NOTICE OF APPARENT LIABILITY FOR FORFEITURE
Released: August 16, 2007
By the District Director, Detroit Office, Northeast Region, Enforcement
1. In this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture ("NAL"), we find
that Christian Family Network, Inc., ("Christian Family Network"),
former licensee of AM station WOLY, in Battle Creek, Michigan,
apparently willfully and repeatedly violated Section 301 of the
Communications Act of 1934, as amended ("Act"), by engaging in
unauthorized operations of its station after its license expired. We
conclude, pursuant to Section 503(b) of the Act, that Christian Family
Network is apparently liable for a forfeiture in the amount of ten
thousand dollars ($10,000).
2. Christian Family Network's license authorizing it to operate station
WOLY on frequency 1500 kHz expired on October 1, 2004. Christian
Family Network has not filed a license renewal application, which was
due on June 1, 2004, nor has it been granted a Special Temporary
Authority ("STA") either to operate its station after October 1, 2004
or to remain silent. In a letter dated June 13, 2006, the Media Bureau
notified Christian Family Network that "...all authority to operate
station WOLY(AM), Battle Creek, MI IS TERMINATED and the call letters
are deleted. Any operation of this facility is now unauthorized and
must cease immediately..."
3. On July 14, 2006, based on information from an area resident that the
station continued to operate, agents from the Commission's Detroit
Office monitored transmissions on 1500 KHz in Battle Creek, MI. Using
direction finding techniques, the agents determined that the source of
the transmissions on 1500 KHz was 15074 6 . Mile Road, Battle Creek,
MI 49014, which was the previously authorized location for station
4. On August 17, 2006, an agent spoke to the owner and President of
Christian Family Network, Inc., James Elsman. The agent advised Elsman
that the station is unlicensed and therefore is not authorized to
operate. Elsman stated to the agent that he tried to file
electronically, but was unable to do so. Elsman also reported that he
spoke to someone at the FCC who advised him that he was required to
file his license renewal application electronically. The agent
provided Elsman the telephone number for the FCC's Audio Service
5. On March 2, 2007 and May 22, 2007, an agent from the Commission's
Detroit Office monitored 1500 KHz in Battle Creek, MI and, using
direction finding techniques, verified that the station continued to
operate at 15074 6 . Mile Road in Battle Creek. At the time, the agent
also confirmed that Christian Family Network had not filed a license
6. Section 503(b) of the Act provides that any person who willfully or
repeatedly fails to comply substantially with the terms and conditions
of any license, or willfully or repeatedly fails to comply with any of
the provisions of the Act or of any rule, regulation or order issued
by the Commission thereunder, shall be liable for a forfeiture
penalty. The term "willful" as used in Section 503(b) has been
interpreted to mean simply that the acts or omissions are committed
knowingly. The term "repeated" means the commission or omission of
such act more than once or for more than one day.
7. Section 301 of the Act requires that no person shall use or operate
any apparatus for the transmission of energy or communications or
signals by radio within the United States except under and in
accordance with the Act and with a license. The authorization to
operate station WOLY expired on October 1, 2004. By letter dated June
14, 2006, the Media Bureau advised Christian Family Network that the
call sign for WOLY was deleted and that Christian Family Network no
longer had authority to operate the station. On July 14, 2006, March
2, 2007, and May 22, 2007, FCC agents found that Christian Family
Network operated radio transmission equipment at 15074 6 . Mile Road,
Battle Creek, MI, without the required Commission authorization.
Christian Family Network also was orally warned by an FCC agent during
a telephone conversation on August 17, 2006 that operation of the
station was unauthorized. We conclude that Christian Family Network's
violation was willful because it continued to operate its station even
after receiving notice from the Media Bureau that its license had been
cancelled and even after receiving an additional warning from an FCC
agent. The violation occurred on more than one day, therefore, it was
8. Based on the evidence before us, we find that Christian Family Network
apparently willfully and repeatedly violated Section 301 of the Act by
continuing to operate a radio station on 1500 KHz in Battle Creek, MI
after the expiration of its license for station WOLY on October 1,
9. Pursuant to The Commission's Forfeiture Policy Statement and Amendment
of Section 1.80 of the Rules to Incorporate the Forfeiture Guidelines,
("Forfeiture Policy Statement"), and Section 1.80 of the Rules, the
base forfeiture amount for construction and/or operation without an
instrument of authorization for the service is $10,000. In assessing
the monetary forfeiture amount, we must also take into account the
statutory factors set forth in Section 503(b)(2)(D) of the Act, which
include the nature, circumstances, extent, and gravity of the
violations, and with respect to the violator, the degree of
culpability, and history of prior offenses, ability to pay, and other
such matters as justice may require. We recognize that, in many cases
involving a station's continued operation after the expiration of its
license, the proposed forfeiture amount has been reduced to $4,000
from the base forfeiture amount of $10,000. In those cases, however,
the stations had filed renewal applications, albeit late, and did not
continue to operate after being warned that it no longer had authority
to operate. Here, Christian Family Network's license to operate
station WOLY expired on October 1, 2004, and it continued to operate
without a license even after being notified by the Media Bureau that
its authority to operate had been terminated and even after receiving
an oral warning from an FCC agent that it no longer had authority to
operate. We therefore conclude that the base forfeiture amount of
$10,000 for violation of Section 301 of the Act is warranted.
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES
10. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to Section 503(b) of the
Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and Sections 0.111, 0.311,
0.314 and 1.80 of the Commission's Rules, Christian Family Network,
Inc. is hereby NOTIFIED of this APPARENT LIABILITY FOR A FORFEITURE in
the amount of ten thousand dollars ($10,000) for violation of Section
301 of the Act.
11. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, pursuant to Section 1.80 of the
Commission's Rules, within thirty (30) days of the release date of
this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, Christian Family
Network, Inc., SHALL PAY the full amount of the proposed forfeiture or
SHALL FILE a written statement seeking reduction or cancellation of
the proposed forfeiture.
12. 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 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 911-6106.
13. The response, if any, must be mailed to Federal Communications
Commission, Enforcement Bureau, Northeast Region, Detroit Office,
24897 Hathaway Street, Farmington Hills, Michigan, 48335-1552, and
must include the NAL/Acct. No. referenced in the caption.
14. The Commission will not consider reducing or canceling a forfeiture in
response to a claim of inability to pay unless the petitioner submits:
(1) federal tax returns for the most recent three-year period; (2)
financial statements prepared according to generally accepted
accounting practices ("GAAP"); or (3) some other reliable and
objective documentation that accurately reflects the petitioner'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.
15. Requests for payment of the full amount of this Notice of Apparent
Liability for Forfeiture under an installment plan should be sent to:
Associate Managing Director, Financial Operations, 445 12th Street,
S.W., Room 1A625, Washington, D.C. 20554.
16. 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 Christian Family Network, Inc., at its
address of record.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
James A. Bridgewater
47 U.S.C. S: 301.
47 U.S.C. S: 503(b).
The agents also conducted a station inspection on July 14, 2006, and found
numerous apparent violations, including inoperable EAS equipment and
missing public inspection file items. Because we conclude that the station
has apparently willfully and repeatedly continued to operate without a
valid license in violation of Section 301 of the Act, we do not address
here the apparent violations with regard to the station's operations.
Section 312(f)(1) of the Act, 47 U.S.C. S: 312(f)(1), which applies to
violations for which forfeitures are assessed under Section 503(b) of the
Act, provides that "[t]he term 'willful', when used with reference to the
commission or omission of any act, means the conscious and deliberate
commission or omission of such act, irrespective of any intent to violate
any provision of this Act or any rule or regulation of the Commission
authorized by this Act...." See Southern California Broadcasting Co., 6
FCC Rcd 4387 (1991).
Section 312(f)(2) of the Act, 47 U.S.C. S: 312(f)(2), which also applies
to violations for which forfeitures are assessed under Section 503(b) of
the Act, provides that "[t]he term 'repeated', when used with reference to
the commission or omission of any act, means the commission or omission of
such act more than once or, if such commission or omission is continuous,
for more than one day."
12 FCC Rcd 17087 (1997), recon. denied, 15 FCC Rcd 303 (1999); 47 C.F.R.
47 U.S.C. S: 503(b)(2)(D).
47 U.S.C. S:S: 301, 503(b), 47 C.F.R. S:S: 0.111, 0.311, 0.314, 1.80.
See 47 C.F.R. S: 1.1914.
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Federal Communications Commission
Federal Communications Commission