Although it was another slow week for LPFM application grants, we are hearing details about how the FCC may handle the large number of pending applicants facing competition from other groups. These so-called mutually exclusive, or MX, applicants are waiting to hear the status of their applications. According to Michi Eyre of REC Networks, the FCC outlined its plans for MX groups during a LPFM workshop at the National Federation of Community Broadcasters (NFCB) conference last Thursday. Audio Division Chief Peter Doyle, Assistant Chief James Bradshaw and Staff Attorney Parul Desai were guests during the workshop hosted by attorney Michael Couzens. Eyre explained that during the workshop, attendees learned that applications have been processed in a much quicker manner than in the previous LPFM window. She writes,
Peter Doyle has stated on singleton handling, the FCC staff has done more in the first 4 months of this window than they did in the first 4 years of the previous LPFM window, 14 years ago. During the last window, application processing was ‘interrupted’ by Congress passing the Radio Broadcast Protection Act resulting in the invalidation of hundreds of applications that were third-adjacent channel short spaced. Doyle states that it is the Audio Division’s goal to ‘get initial licensing decisions in calendar year 2014. It will take resources where I am not sure where they will come from.’
Additionally, the FCC’s Desai said that there is an ongoing investigation into the remaining applications filed by Antonio Cesal Guel (the FCC sent him a letter of inquiry and subsequently dismissed 14 applications). As far as mutually exclusive (MX) applications, it’s expected that the first public notice for applicants in the Western United States will be released soon. According to Eyre,
Desai states that the FCC will ‘soon’ release the first MX public notice (PN). The first PN will include about 260 applicants. These applicants will be in the western United States which will be mainly all states west of the Mississippi River with the exception of Texas. Once this PN is released, the FCC will split the remainder of the country into two groups based on the distribution of the applications taking into consideration the geographic separations between groups…Peter Doyle has stated on the day that the Public Notice is released, the 90-day clock for amendments and settlement agreements will start the business day following the release…
The FCC has confirmed that during the PN settlement window, applicants will be able to move their proposed stations more than 5.6 km (3.5 miles) from their original location as long as the localism guidelines continue to be met. This is a departure from how moves were handled in the settlement period during the previous LPFM filing windows.
Granted Applications this Week
Sacred Heart Catholic Church Parish Council (Palestine, Texas):
This group plans to “…use the proposed LPFM station to present and [sic] overall educational program, with programs from nationally recognized Catholic educational broadcasters…in addition to locally produced programs…,” according to its application.
Real Radio (Duluth, Minnesota):
This Wisconsin-based non-profit (which was incorporated as a Virginia corporation in November, 2013) plans to use its LPFM to “provide religious instruction and moral teaching,” with programs focused on “…family development, child rearing and education, health information and religion,” according to its LPFM application.
Fala Fundacion Para Las Artes Latinoamericanas (Phoenix, Arizona):
According to its application, this group aims to “promote and embrace Latino culture and arts, educate and inspire the community at large and provide an immersive and inspirational learning environment.” Programming is expected to include news, local music, and Spanish-language programming.
Dismissed Applications this Week
This week’s LPFM application dismissals include Northland Baptist Ministries (Wasilla, Alaska), Centro Palabra de Fe (Las Cruces, New Mexico), Alamo Methodist (San Antonio, Texas), and P:EAR (Portland, Oregon). Additionally, Growing Gardens (Hillsboro, Oregon) had its permit cancelled after its Executive Director sent a letter to the FCC requesting the cancellation of the construction permit. In his letter, David Greenberg writes, “Growing Gardens does not wish to pursue this application and therefore, respectfully requests that the application and attached construction permit be dismissed and cancelled.”