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3ABN's K36FJ to Cease Broadcasting Three Angels' Messages

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FCC Deadline for Comment on Pending Sale: Oct. 11, 2007

The window of opportunity for public comment and complaint to the FCC regarding 3ABN's sale of K36FJ to Churchill Media III closes on October 11, 2007, just 30 days after the FCC issued a Public Notice of the pending sale.

According to WikiPedia, K36FJ was founded on June 19, 1995, by Adolfo Gomez, who sold his permit to 3ABN that December. The station was completed and licensed in September 1997. A change from channel 63 to channel 36 was licensed in 2002.

Selling K36FJ Despite Record Revenues

Despite record revenues in 2006, including a healthy increase of $1,014,845 just in contributions, 3ABN is selling off some of its stations. Moses Primo, Director of Broadcasting for 3ABN, signed a letter of intent on June 15, 2007, with Churchill Media III of Eugene, Oregon, to sell K36FJ, 3ABN's low powered TV station in that same city. The final paragraph of the letter of intent states:

"Closing will take place within 30 days of the closing of the purchase of K54DU, Richland, Washington, which is addressed in a separate agreement, and provided that FCC approval has been received."

While little is known about the agreement regarding K54DU, and apparently no application has been filed with the FCC for a transfer of that station, the following facts are known regarding the pending sale of K36FJ:

  • Scott Diehl, Operations Manager of Churchill Media III, signed the Asset Purchase Agreement on August 22, 2007.
  • Danny Shelton, 3ABN President, signed the Asset Purchase Agreement but forgot to date it.
  • According to these various documents, 3ABN is selling the station for $700,000, $400,000 of which will be given as cash at closing, and $300,000 of which will be a loan by 3ABN to Churchill Media III, to be paid within 18 months.
  • According to the document itself, Danny Shelton signed the FCC application for license transfer on September 6, 2007, and he signed it as 3ABN President, even though he introduced Jim Gilley as the new president and CEO that very same day.
  • The FCC accepted the application for license transfer on September 7, 2007, and issued its Public Notice concerning the application on September 11, triggering the 30-day window for public comment on that date.

FCC regulations are quite clear that Petitions to Deny an application such as this one must be filed by members of the public within 30 days after the FCC issues its public notice. Thus, October 11 is the deadline.

Sources indicate that Seventh-day Adventists in the Eugene, Oregon, area were not aware of this pending sale to a for-profit corporation of the station they helped pay for with their tax-deductible gifts.

A Little About the New Owner

Churchill Media III characterizes its radio stations in the following way:

  • 1600 AM KOPT: "KOPT is Oregon's premiere progressive talk and news radio station. ... KOPT is the only station broadcasting local news seven days a week."
  • ESPN Deportes 1450 AM: "Deportes Radio is a Spanish-language sports radio network created and produced by ESPN."
  • LaX Network: "LaX is the Northwest's cutting-edge Spanish-language radio network. The station broadcasts news, sports, multi-genre music, and talk."

Want to Buy a Station?

So exactly which stations are up for sale? According to comments by 3ABN personnel, no stations are really up for sale, but if you find a station you like, and the price is right, 3ABN will consider selling. Some might conclude from such comments that 3ABN will consider selling just about any station it has.

What's the Problem?

If 3ABN took in record revenues in 2006, why are they selling stations? Even though revenues reached a record $16,602,282, expenses also have skyrocketed.

According to 3ABN's 2006 Form 990, 3ABN gave away $3,167,235 worth of books and such in 2006, about $2.5 million more than in 2005. If Danny had allowed 3ABN to be the publisher of The Ten Commandments Twice Removed books instead of Remnant Publications, if he had declined to be secretly paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in royalties for the 4.5 million copies that got shipped out, just perhaps 3ABN could have made a profit on those books and not ended up at the end of the year with a nearly $3,000,000 deficit.

Another issue that is undoubtedly causing some financial strain is Danny Shelton's ongoing, personal legal expenses that 3ABN is paying in their joint lawsuit battle over new media newcomer, Six lawyers in two states don't come cheap.

And then there is the alleged severance package offered to Danny Shelton to get him to step down from being president. And the new corvette he bought. It all takes money, and $16.6 million a year only goes so far.

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