Michigan’s WBNZ-FM Fined $18,000 By FCC

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The licensee for WBNZ is Roy E. Henderson. In a memorandum dated May 30, the FCC found that “Licensee apparently has willfully and repeatedly operated the Station at variance from its license without Commission authorization in violation of Section 301 of the Act and Section 73.1745(a) of the Rules; willfully failed to timely file for special temporary authorization to operate with its nonconforming technical facilities in violation of Section 73.1635(a)(1) of the Rules; and willfully failed to disclose material information regarding the unauthorized operations in violation of Section 1.17 of the Rules.”


The violations stem from the station falling silent on January 21, 2015, and an objection to its application for renewal submitted by New Beginnings.

In its findings, the FCC stated that, upon completion of the enforcement proceeding, it would grant the station’s Renewal Application.


2 COMMENTS

  1. A church has filed paperwork with the FCC refusing to give up its channel in the TV band repacking process.

    Since 2013, New Beginnings Fellowship Church of Houston, Texas has operated a Franken FM on Channel 6.

    The church, originally an LPFM applicant, withdrew its request for a low power radio license in order to free up a channel for a commercial FM translator. Broadcaster Don Werlinger convinced the church to walk away from a guaranteed LPFM by promising the church use of two long dark (but still licensed) LPTV channels until the sunset of analog broadcasting.

    The deal provided that the church had to buy its own transmitters, obtain tower space, and fund its own operation.

    The deal was confirmed by Ben Perez, attorney for Roy Henderson, the actual licensee of KJIB-LP and KVDO-LP.

    At the time, church officials were not aware of Henderson’s lengthy history of dishonesty and other unethical conduct involving the operation of radio stations.

    After the church lit KVDO-LP and KJIB-LP back up, another church sought to purchase the licenses from Henderson. Rather than negotiate with New Beginnings, Henderson attempted to deny the existence of an agreement and ordered the stations turned off. New Beginnings refused and filed complaints with the FCC.

    To avoid an investigation, Henderson simply surrendered the licenses. After cancellation, the FCC closed their investigation under the.legal theory of no license, nothing to review.

    Although New Beginnings repeatedly asked the FCC to reinstate the licenses, the Commission ruled that only the licensee could request reinstatement. The Commissuon has also declined to get involved, saying the dispute was a civil matter.

    In reply, the church notified the FCC that civil law gives them a right to specific performance of their contractual rights. Specifically, they claimed a contractual right to operate KJIB until the end of analog TV broadcasting in 2021.

    The church also notified the FCC that since Henderson surrendered the license while under contract, then he alone is legally responsible for any unlicensed operations.

    Although the FCC has taken punitive actions against Henderson in other matters–e.g., deleting the license for KROY, and imposing an $18K fine for unauthorized operation of a Michigan station–no action has been taken in the matter of KJIB. The Houston station has continued operation undet a cancelled license for over 4 years.

    Now, New Beginnings has a new problem. In the TV repacking, KCVH-LD is losing its Channel 30 to a full power station. They are seeking displacement to Channel 6.

    New Beginnings has filed a petition to deny KCVH’s displacement.. They notified the FCC that they are not vacating Channel 6 until the final sunset of analog TV broadcasting–currently scheduled to take place on July 13, 2021.

    • Roy Henderson.

      Thanks for sharing, New Beginnings. Best of luck with the situation with KCVH.

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