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Paul Smith’s College Radio Station WPSA Turns License Back to FCC

Over the winter holidays, Paul Smith’s College in The Adirondack Park in New York sent a letter to the FCC asking that its class D FM license for college radio station WPSA be cancelled.

The December 12, 2011 letter was accepted by the FCC on December 20, 2011 and the 98.3 FM license was deleted. Back in October, 2011, WPSA was granted a request for the station to go silent. This cancellation follows a series of forfeiture orders due to WPSA’s late renewal of its FCC license in 2006.

In 2007 it was issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture in the amount of $7,000 for failure to renew its license on time and for “unauthorized operation of the Station” after its license had expired. WPSA never ended up paying the $7,000 fine and in correspondence with the FCC in April 2011, it was instead assessed a reduced fine of $250. This reduced amount was in part due to the elapsed time since the original forfeiture order and in part due to the station’s class D status. According to the letter, “We note that the Station is a Class D station. Given the Commission’s recent precedent assessing forfeitures in the amount of $250 against a licensee of a Class D FM station for violating Section 301 of the Act, we will reduce the forfeiture amount sua sponte from $4,000 (the amount set forth in the NAL for the Section 301 violation) to $250.”

Back in 1999, WPSA had its license cancelled for the first time by the FCC and the call sign was deleted. Interestingly, two years later, the school filed a Petition for Reconsideration and managed to have the license reinstated in 2001.

I couldn’t find much information about the station’s history, but alumni have shared reminiscences dating back to at least the 1970s. As a class D station operating at no more than 10 watts, it’s doubtful that WPSA had much of a presence beyond campus.

When I spoke with Jill Susice, the Coordinator for Student Activities at Paul Smith’s College, she told me that WPSA ceased its FM broadcasting at the end of the fall semester 2011. She also explained that its antenna only covered a 2 mile radius, which was “basically just the campus.” Susice added that they are working on bringing the station back as an online-only student radio station “hopefully by the end of the year or early next semester.” She explained that students were involved with the decision to give up the FM license, saying, “Students were involved in the decision and there wasn’t the interest in the radio station to continue.  No one was listening and wanting to participate in it.  The trend is that the students are on-line versus on the airways.”


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One Response to Paul Smith’s College Radio Station WPSA Turns License Back to FCC

  1. Henning Bjerre January 29, 2012 at 11:03 pm #

    I guess it is economics. It is cheaper to pay per bit or per person listening rather paying watts for no one listening.

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