REC Position Statement: CPC of the WMM
Since the close of the LPFM filing window, REC Networks has received many inquiries regarding 17 LPFM construction permit applications filed during the 2023 Third Generation LPFM Filing Window from organizations with the name “CPC of the WMM”.
Likewise, REC was skeptical about these applications, especially considering that they used the same boilerplate educational statement that was used in over 245 applications filed through Antonio Cesar Guel in the 2013 Second Generation LPFM Filing Window. As such, REC had reached a preliminary determination that these applications were speculative in nature as being originated by Guel and as such, they included an entry on the REC Application of Concern List (ACL) as a “Cesar Guel or affiliate” speculative application and they received their own tracking code outside of the 6 Segments concept (code 804).
Since then, REC has conducted research into these applications during our post-window activities and we have reached several conclusions.
First of all, “CPC of the WMM” stands for “Christian Pentecost Church of the Worldwide Missionary Movement”. They are a conservative congregation with a worldwide presence. The Church has their roots in Puerto Rico and in Spanish, they are known as Movimiento Misionero Mundial (or “MMM”). Their logo is an oval-shaped globe with the letters “MMM” underneath. There is an English language variation with the letters “WMM” underneath.
The WMM/MMM official website can be found (in Spanish) at:
Their presence in the United States can be found at:
Of the various locations that were spot-checked as part of our post-window activity which looked at main studio point claims in MX groups did show that the main studio addresses specified are actual brick and mortar facilities with many including the MMM logo on signs outside of the church.
While the use of the boilerplate educational statement did raise concern, we also noted that during our post-window exercise, we observed many applications that were filed in this window, both from faith-based and secular organizations, including those from within the grassroots LPFM movement to include their own form of boilerplate educational statements. REC’s position on these types of statements is that they do not portray the uniqueness of the organization that is applying for a construction permit. In fact, in this window, we had a very large number of LPFM applicant organizations that were not necessarily from existing organizations involved in secular or faith-based public service activities, but in fact, were established primarily for the establishment of a radio broadcast station. Of the 1,336 applications that were filed in the LPFM window, we have identified 306 secular (code 300) and 145 faith-based (code 580) applications that would be considered from “microstation” organizations.
Unlike the 2013 Guel applications:
- The WMM applications are associated directly with WMM/MMM-affiliated congregations and have their own brick and mortar facilities. In a small number of cases, they may share space with a non-Hispanic church.
- The WMM churches are well-established organizations that were not started just prior to the LPFM window and they are incorporated in the states they actually operate in, which in contrast to the 2013 Guel applications were all of the organizations were incorporated out of Texas just prior to their original filing.
- The headquarters addresses in some cases were the actual brick and mortar facilities while in some cases, they may be residences, which could be residences of leaders of the local congregations.
Based on the new information received through our own research, we can equate the relationship of the WMM/MMM as a national organization with local chapters with some of the organizational characteristics of other faiths such as the United Methodist Church (UMC) as an example. Like the UMC, the WMM/MMM churches operate under their own name with the "national" name as a part of it and the churches use a national logo. §73.858(b) of the FCC Rules specifically states that a local chapter of a national or other large organization shall not have attributable interests of the national organization attributed to it provided that the local chapter is separately incorporated and has a distinct local presence and mission. REC is satisfied that the WMM/MMM churches meet this regulatory criterion.
The basis for this is similar to the basis used in an Audio Division decision that was made following the 2000/2001 First Generation LPFM Window Series where it was determined that despite many churches that applied under the “Calvary Chapel of ___” name, they were all independent congregations with their own corporations and missions. REC agreed with the FCC decision at the time.
Based on these conclusions, REC has modified its systems to have the CPC of the WMM applicants join the 6 Segments under a new code 506, which will be used to track their affiliated churches. This is no different than our use of code 502, which is used to track churches in the Calvary Chapel movement. We have also removed the “Cesar Guel or Affiliate” references from the ACL and in some cases, removed the applicant from the ACL. Applicants will remain on the ACL if there were issues identified other than just the association with the WMM/MMM.
Obviously, there are concerns that the WMM/MMM stations will operate network programming and not program locally. While it is a priority of those in the LPFM movement to assure that stations operate locally, the Commission’s Rules only place a local programming and main studio staffing requirement on LPFM stations which received their authorizations through a Commission decision in a comparative review (point) hearing. In other words, if the LPFM station used their points to cause the dismissal of another applicant in a MX Group, then they are subject to the main studio and local programming pledges if those points were claimed. It would be very inappropriate to “assume” the nature and origination of an applicant’s intended programming during the window and post-window phase of the process. Instead, the ripe time to object to a station that is not meeting their main studio and local programming pledges would be during the renewal cycle.
We note that there are several WMM/MMM applicants that are in groups of mutually exclusive (MX) applicants and in some cases, are the predicted tentative selectees even after REC predicted point adjustments. If these applicants are successful and do use their points to dismiss another MX Group applicant, then they are expected to staff a main studio at least 20 hours per week and carry 8 hours of locally originated programming per day.
For any applicant that is originally a singleton or becomes a singleton through application amendment activity, they are not subject to any pledges and there is nothing stopping them from running 24 hour a day network programming.
Finally, on Antonio Cesar Guel. Mr. Guel is currently in the middle of a hearing process with the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) at the FCC. A part of this hearing is to show cause why Guel should no longer be involved with any kind of broadcasting. We note that at the time of the 2023 LPFM filing window, the case was in the early processes and therefore no judgment has been handed down by the ALJ. Therefore, there is nothing legally stopping him from being involved with broadcast applications, however, both the Media and Enforcement Bureaus can place additional scrutiny on those applications but the FCC actions on these applications will need to be consistent with regulations, federal law, past-precedence and proper legal procedure.
At REC, we must balance the rights of free speech afforded to all entities, whether they are faith-based or secular, liberal or conservative and without regard to race, ethnicity, gender, disability, age, sexual orientation or gender identity with protecting the overall integrity of the LPFM service. Our initial actions in regard to these applications were based on our own free speech rights to raise a concern. Our subsequent decisions that were outlined in this position statement were to promote the integrity of the LPFM service and the first amendment by assuring fairness for all applicants. As such, we will give CPC of the WMM a fair chance of demonstrating that they will operate their LPFM stations consistent with federal regulations and the Communications Act. At the same time, we will call for CPC of the WMM to be just as accountable as any other LPFM licensee if they depart from those expectations.
We further note that REC has not been contacted by any representative of CPC of the WMM and this position statement was made at our own free will without the organization’s influence or involvement in the matter.
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About REC Networks: Based three hours out of Washington, DC, REC Networks is an unincorporated entity that serves as a primary regulatory advocate before the Federal Communications Commission in issues that involve access to electromagnetic spectrum with a strong focus on smaller broadcast stations, especially in the Low Power FM (LPFM) radio service. Michelle Bradley, CBT, founder of REC Networks, is a Society of Broadcast Engineers Certified Broadcast Technologist and has been involved with the LPFM service since prior to the creation of the service by the FCC in 2000. In addition to the advocacy, REC also provides professional services to all FM broadcast facilities and is one of the largest users and creators of broadcast data outside of the FCC through websites such as FCCdata.org and FCC.today.
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