|James and Ruth Campbell, Noncom Media Moguls|
Some readers may recall our post last April [link] about who makes the most money in noncom radio. The top individuals were James and Ruth Campbell who are raking in the believer’s cash in Greenville, South Carolina. Mr. and Mrs. Campbell are the major players and benefactors of the Radio Training Network (RTN), a growing contemporary Christian music (CCM) network called His Radio.
According to RTN 2013 IRS 990, James Campbell was paid $581,183 that year. His wife, Ruth Campbell, is Mr. Campbell’s assistant secretary and made nearly $80,000 in the same year. $660,000+ goes a long way in Greenville. RTN’s net assets exceeded $22,800,000 as of 2013. The Campbell’s compensation is roughly 5% of RTN total annual revenue, three times the level of typical noncoms.
Now comes word that RTN and an associated company called Asheville Educational Association (AEA) must pay a $10,000 joint fine for a scheme that involved a “forever” time brokerage agreement (TBA) regarding the operation of WLFA-FM, Asheville, North Carolina.
The FCC’s Media Bureau’s consent decree said that the agreement between the two organizations amounted to an unauthorized transfer of control of the WLFA’s license.
In addition, the bureau found that both AEA and RTN improperly allowed RTN to assume control of the station without prior commission authorization, a violation of FCC rules. The investigation found that AEA improperly delegated core licensee responsibilities that it should have handled itself — such as retaining station employees at the main studio and maintaining station equipment.
Under terms of the 2013 agreement, AEA agreed to sell WLFA to RTN and in return would receive series of escalating monthly payments. According to the FCC decree, RTN agreed to pay AEA $6,750 per month in 2003. The monthly payment was to increase by 5% per year for the following four years and then again increase another 5% per year for subsequent years. By accepting these TBA fees, AEA violated the rules.
In addition, the bureau found that both AEA and RTN improperly allowed RTN to assume control of the station without prior commission authorization. AEA improperly delegated core licensee responsibilities that it should have handled itself — such as retaining station employees at the main studio and maintaining station equipment. Ultimate responsibility for essential station matters, such as personnel, programming and finances, remains the responsibility of the licensee. The FCC decree requires AEA and RTN to collectively join together to make a $10,000 civil penalty payment.
The FCC also said WFLA has been off the air since June 9, 2015. That was the date RTN and AEA terminated their agreement for RTN to provide 24/7 programming and full operation of WFLA. The license for WFLA will expire if the station does not resume broadcast operations by December 28, 2015, 12:01AM.
RTN IS aggressively adding new stations via purchases and LMAs. Accord to the His Radio website [link] operates over 50 stations and translators in six states:
RTN’s 50% share of the FCC fine is less than one percent of the Campbell’s annual conpensation.