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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of EB-05-IH-0897
GREATER HARDIN ASSOCIATION Facility ID No. 134773
Licensee of Low Power FM Station NAL/Account No. 200932080049
KRWS-LP, Hardin, Montana )
1. The Enforcement Bureau ("Bureau") and Greater Hardin Association
("GHA"), by their authorized representatives, hereby enter into this
Consent Decree for the purpose of terminating the Bureau's
investigation into whether GHA violated Sections 73.858 and 73.860 of
the Commission's rules.
2. For the purposes of this Consent Decree, the following definitions
a. "Act" means the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C.
S: 151 et seq.
b. "Adopting Order" means an Order of the Commission adopting the terms
of this Consent Decree without change, addition, deletion, or
c. "Bureau" means the Enforcement Bureau of the Federal Communications
d. "Commission" and "FCC" mean the Federal Communications Commission and
all of its bureaus and offices.
e. "Complaint" means any third-party complaint that may have been
received by or is otherwise in the possession of the Commission or
Bureau alleging that GHA engaged in conduct which violated the
Commission's multiple ownership rules.
f. "Compliance Plan" means the program described in this Consent Decree
at paragraph 9.
g. "Effective Date" means the date on which the Commission releases the
h. "Investigation" means the investigation commenced by the Bureau's
Investigations and Hearings Division's October 25, 2005, and February
6, 2006, Letters of Inquiry regarding whether GHA had engaged in
conduct which violated the Commission's multiple ownership rules.
i. "Investigations and Hearings Division" means the Investigations and
Hearings Division, Enforcement Bureau, Federal Communications
Commission, acting on behalf of the Enforcement Bureau.
j. "Parties" means Greater Hardin Association and the Bureau.
k. "Rules" means the Commission's regulations found in Title 47 of the
Code of Federal Regulations.
l. "Licensee" means Greater Hardin Association ("GHA").
m. "Station" means low power FM Station KRWS-LP, licensed to Greater
3. Sections 73.858 and 73.860 of the Commission's rules prohibit
licensees of low power FM radio stations from holding an attributable
interest in any other non-LPFM broadcast station, including any FM
translator or low power television station, or any other media subject
to the Commission's broadcast ownership regulations.
4. The Bureau received a Complaint alleging that GHA, licensee of low
power FM Station KRWS-LP, Hardin, Montana, failed to satisfy a
condition requiring that its principal, Al Sargent, prior to
commencement of station operations, divest ownership of a local
newspaper, "The Original Briefs," consistent with the attribution and
cross-ownership limitations contained in Sections 73.858 and 73.860 of
the Commission's rules. The Bureau investigated and issued LOIs to
GHA. GHA responded to the respective LOIs, and while not denying
having violated the pertinent rules, reports that it has since come
into compliance with the pertinent Commission rules by completing the
required divestiture. With respect to the issue of liability for any
Commission rule violations that have occurred, GHA also provided
documentation, supported by affirmations, attempting to support its
claim of financial hardship. The Bureau finds GHA's financial showing
credible in all respects. In arriving at the voluntary contribution
amount, the Bureau, therefore, considers not only the nature of the
misconduct in question, but also GHA's limited ability to pay.
III. TERMS OF AGREEMENT
5. Adopting Order. The Parties agree that the provisions of this Consent
Decree shall be subject to final approval by the Bureau by
incorporation of such provisions by reference in the Adopting Order
without change, addition, modification, or deletion.
6. Jurisdiction. GHA agrees that the Bureau has jurisdiction over it and
the matters contained in this Consent Decree and that it has the
authority to enter into and adopt this Consent Decree.
7. Effective Date; Violation. The Parties agree that this Consent Decree
shall become effective on the date on which the FCC releases the
Adopting Order. Upon release, the Adopting Order and this Consent
Decree shall have the same force and effect as any other Order of the
Bureau. Any violation of the Adopting Order or of the terms of this
Consent Decree shall constitute a separate violation of a Bureau
Order, entitling the Bureau to exercise any rights and remedies
attendant to the enforcement of a Commission Order.
8. Termination of Investigation. In express reliance on the covenants and
representations in this Consent Decree and to avoid further
expenditure of public resources, the Bureau agrees to terminate its
Investigation and dismiss the Complaint. In consideration for the
termination of said Investigation and dismissal of the Complaint, GHA
agrees to the terms, conditions, and procedures contained herein. The
Bureau further agrees that in the absence of new material evidence,
the Bureau will not use the facts developed in this Investigation
through the Effective Date of this Consent Decree, or the existence of
this Consent Decree, to institute any new proceeding, formal or
informal, or take any action on its own motion against GHA concerning
the matters that were the subject of the Investigation. The Bureau
also agrees that it will not use the facts developed in this
Investigation through the Effective Date of this Consent Decree, or
the existence of this Consent Decree, to institute any proceeding,
formal or informal, or take any action against GHA with respect to
GHA's basic qualifications, including character qualifications, to be
a Commission licensee.
9. Compliance Plan. For purposes of settling the matters set forth
herein, GHA agrees to create within thirty (30) days a Compliance
Plan related to its future compliance the Act, the Commission's Rules,
and the Commission's Orders. The Compliance Plan will include, at a
minimum, the following components:
a. The President of GHA will conduct a compliance examination of the
number and type of media outlets owned by the Licensee and whether
such ownership complies with Sections 73.858 and 73.860 of the
Commission's Rules. Such examination will be conducted, at a minimum,
every six (6) months, beginning on the Effective Date of the Consent
b. The President of GHA shall also consult with its telecommunications
counsel regarding its overall compliance with Sections 73.858 and
73.860 of the Commission's Rules on an annual basis, if not more
c. The requirements of this Compliance Plan will expire three (3) years
from the Effective Date of the Consent Decree or upon GHA's complete
assignment of all Commission licenses, whichever is earlier.
10. Compliance Reports. GHA will file its compliance reports with the
Commission 12 months, 24 months, and 36 months following the Effective
Date. Each compliance report shall include a compliance certificate
from an officer, as an agent of GHA, stating that the officer has
personal knowledge that GHA has established operating procedures
intended to ensure compliance with this Consent Decree, together with
an accompanying statement explaining the basis for the officer's
compliance certification. All compliance reports shall be submitted to
the Chief, Investigations and Hearings Division, Enforcement Bureau,
Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street, S.W., Room 4-C330,
Washington, D.C. 20554.
11. Termination Date: Unless stated otherwise, the requirements of this
Consent Decree will expire three years from the Effective Date.
12. Voluntary Contribution. GHA agrees that it will make a voluntary
contribution to the United States Treasury in the amount of five
hundred dollars ($500). Such contribution shall be made in two (2)
payments of two hundred and fifty dollars ($250). The first payment
shall be made on or before July 8, 2009, and the second payment shall
be made on or before July 15, 2009. The payment must include the
Account Number and the FRN Number of each respective payee 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. Payments 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 Account Number in block number 23A (call sign/other ID), and enter
the letters "FORF" in block number 24A (payment type code). GHA will
also send an electronic notification on the date each said payment is
made to: Hillary S. DeNigro (Hillary.Denigro@fcc.gov), Kenneth M.
Scheibel, Jr. (Kenneth.Scheibel@fcc.gov), and Anita Patankar-Stoll
13. Waivers. GHA waives any and all respective rights each 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 adopting this Consent Decree, provided
the Commission issues an Order adopting the Consent Decree without
change, addition, modification, or deletion. GHA shall retain the
right to challenge Commission interpretation of the Consent Decree or
any terms contained herein. If any Party (or the United States on
behalf of the Commission) brings a judicial action to enforce the
terms of the Adopting Order, GHA nor the Commission shall contest the
validity of the Consent Decree or the Adopting Order, and GHA shall
waive any statutory right to a trial de novo. GHA hereby agrees to
waive any claims it may otherwise have under the Equal Access to
Justice Act, 5 U.S.C. S: 504 and 47 C.F.R. S: 1.1501 et seq., relating
to the matters addressed in this Consent Decree.
14. Subsequent Rule or Order. The Parties agree that if any provision of
the Consent Decree conflicts with any subsequent rule or Order adopted
by the Commission (except an Order specifically intended to revise the
terms of this Consent Decree to which GHA does not expressly consent)
that provision will be superseded by such Commission rule or Order.
15. Successors and Assigns: GHA agrees that the provisions of this Consent
Decree shall be binding on its successors, assigns, and transferees.
16. Final Settlement. The Parties agree and acknowledge that this Consent
Decree shall constitute a final settlement between the Parties. The
Parties further agree that this Consent Decree does not constitute
either an adjudication on the merits or a factual or legal finding or
determination regarding any compliance or noncompliance with the
requirements of the Act or the Commission's Rules and Orders.
17. Modifications. This Consent Decree cannot be modified without the
advance written consent of all Parties.
18. Paragraph Headings. The headings of the Paragraphs in this Consent
Decree are inserted for convenience only and are not intended to
affect the meaning or interpretation of this Consent Decree.
19. Authorized Representative. Each party represents and warrants to the
others that it has full power and authority to enter into this Consent
20. Counterparts. This Consent Decree may be signed in any number of
counterparts (including by facsimile), each of which, when executed
and delivered, shall be an original, and all of which counterparts
together shall constitute one and the same fully executed instrument
Hillary S. DeNigro
Chief, Investigations and Hearings Division
See 47 C.F.R. S:S: 73.858 (attribution of LPFM station interests) and
See Letters from William D. Freedman, Deputy Chief, Investigations and
Hearings Division, Enforcement Bureau, to GHA, dated October 25, 2005
and February 6, 2006 ("October 25th LOI" and "February 6th LOI"
respectively and collectively the "LOIs").
See 47 C.F.R. S:S: 73.858 (attribution of LPFM station interests) and
See Letter of the Chief, Audio Services Division, Mass Media Bureau,
to GHA, et al., dated March 22, 2004 ("Grant Letter"). GHA notes that
the newspaper in question, cited by the processing staff as "The
Briefs," is correctly known as "The Original Briefs." See Response to
Supplemental Letter of Investigation, dated March 22, 2006.
See 47 C.F.R. S:S: 73.858 and 73.860.
See Letters from Robert C. Griffin, Esq., and Kenneth E. Hardman,
Esq., counsel for GHA, to Kenneth M. Scheibel, Jr., Attorney,
Investigations & Hearings Division, Enforcement Bureau, dated November
14, 2005, and March 22, 2006 ("November 14th Response" and "March 22nd
Federal Communications Commission DA 09-1273
Federal Communications Commission DA 09-1273