LPFM advocate REC Networks has been cranking out reports and analysis in order to make sense of the nearly 3,000 LPFM applications that were filed in the October-November, 2013 window. In the course of that, it has been flagging applications that seem to have errors or that look to be masquerading as local applicants.
Today REC Networks posted an informal objection (PDF) that it just filed with the FCC in which it expresses concerns about 245 LPFM applications that were prepared by Hispanic Christian Community Network President Antonio Cesar Guel. Hispanic Christian Community Network reportedly owns more than 40 LPTV stations. Although the Guel-prepared LPFM applications all claim to be for unique, local non-profit organizations all over the country, REC Networks found discrepancies in many of the applications and is asking for the FCC to either dismiss the applications or investigate them further.
According to a statement by Michi Eyre of REC Networks, “Our informal objection was intended to ‘flag’ these 245 applications to call the FCC’s attention to various patterns in these applications.” REC Networks found that these applications were for organizations incorporated in Texas and all had identical organization phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and educational statements. Additionally, some of the applications listed questionable main studio locations, including “gated communities, apartment complexes and non-existant [sic] addresses.” Others listed addresses that appear to be at P.O. Box locations.
As Radio Survivor has been taking a closer look at applications from all over the country, we’ve run across a few of these applicants ourselves. In Los Angeles, Guel filed on behalf of Los Angeles Hispanic Community Radio and in the San Francisco Bay Area, he filed applications for South San Francisco Hispanic Community Radio and San Francisco Hispanic Community Radio. Both San Francisco groups are proposing stations on the sites of local churches and the Los Angeles group proposes a station at a residence. REC Networks found that another application in the San Francisco Bay Area, for Concord Hispanic Community Radio, indicates a main studio location at a non-existent address.
REC argues that applications like this go against the local spirit of LFPM. According to its informal objection:
“REC feels that attempts by larger organizations to infiltrate the LPFM service under the guise of questionable local presence would undermine the Commission’s goal of localism and violate the spirit of the recently passed Local Community Radio Act. REC feels these applications are not truly local.”
REC asserts that the applications were not actually filed by local applicants, but were instead filed “on behalf of a much larger organization with many LPTV holdings. Antonio Cesar Guel is the President/CEO of Hispanic Christian Community Network, Inc. and holds a 100% attributable interest in 41 LPTV stations. During the first LPFM window, Guel was involved with the filing of several questionable LPFM applications for which REC objected to back then.”
According to REC’s objection, there are 41 LPFM applicants that would not be facing competition (being placed into mutually exclusive or MX groups) in their regions if the Hispanic Christian Community Network-related applications did not exist. REC argues that “it is very unfair to these organizations to be delayed due to being in a MX group with an allegedly fraudulent application.”