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AM Levied Forfeiture of $25,000 Following Procedural “Shenanigans”

FCC originally proposed forfeiture due to tower violations

A 2016 FCC forfeiture charge of $25,000 for not properly maintaining and lighting two antenna structures against Pentecostal Temple Development Corp., the licensee for AM station WGBN in Lincoln Borough, Pa., has been made official as a result of what FCC describes as “procedurally deficient shenanigans” in a forfeiture order filed on July 23.

Following the originally proposed fine on Dec. 30, 2016, for violating section 303(q) of the Communications Act of 1934 — relating to the station’s tower lighting issues — Pentecostal Temple would have recurring filing errors in the procedures and possible payment of the fine. According to the commission’s account, the company failed to file a proper response to the original notice and failed to send copies of its Petition for Reconsideration of Notice to the FCC as instructed, resulting in neither documents being processed and returned to Pentecostal Temple.

The licensee also had issues when it came to setting up planned installment payments for the fine, failing to send it to the FCC’s chief financial officer, the commission said. While it was eventually forwarded to the CFO, an installment plan was never executed.

In addition, no response to the Notice to the Bureau was filed, as Pentecostal Temple mistakenly filed to the Office of Managing Director. The FCC notes, however, that even if it had been addressed appropriately, the filing still came after the 30-day window originally established.

These missteps led to the FCC to affirm the $25,000 fine against Pentecostal Temple, which it has 30 days to pay. If not paid within that time, the case may be referred to the U.S. Department of Justice.

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