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LPFM Watch: UCentral Student Radio to Go LPFM, WQAZ-LP’s Underwriting Violations, and More LPFM News

We are now up to 1,737 granted construction permits for new low power FM (LPFM) stations, as a result of the fall 2013 application window. In addition to some new construction permits this week, there was also some FCC enforcement action at an existing LPFM and an existing FM is facing an uncertain future after its home institution announces that it is closing in a few months.

What Does Sweet Briar College’s Closure Announcement Mean for its LPFM?

I was shocked to hear yesterday about the announcement of the impending closure of Sweet Briar College and wondered what that might mean for its LPFM station. The school was granted a construction permit for new station WSWE-LP in Sweet Briar, Virginia back in February, 2014 and the station was granted a license to cover in November. According to its application, the station will air a variety of educational program and “students will have a large role in the operation of the new station.” I reached out to Sweet Briar College’s Director of Integration Information Systems/CIO John Jaffe. Jaffe told me over email that, “I am confident the station will continue,” adding that “those involved are working to transition it to a community station once the college actually ceases operations.” My thoughts are with the school and the station. It certainly calls to mind WFMU‘s closing days as a college radio station. Luckily for WFMU, it broke from Upsala College and became an independent station before the school declared bankruptcy. WFMU is still thriving today.

WQAZ-LP to Pay $16,000 Penalty for Airing Commercials

As I wrote in a Radio Survivor Bulletin exclusive yesterday, WQAZ-LP in Edmond, West Virginia has been asked to pay a $16,000 penalty because it broke underwriting rules by airing commercial announcements. It’s another reminder to LPFMs and to all non-commercial radio stations that it’s important to fully understand and comply with underwriting rules. As part of the Consent Decree that WQAZ-LP signed, it has agreed to set up a compliance plan, which also includes educational efforts aimed at future underwriters. Sounds like a great plan to me!

University of Central Oklahoma’s Student Radio Station to Migrate to LPFM

I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention that another university was granted a construction permit for a new LPFM. Congratulations to UCentral Student Radio at University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, Oklahoma, which was granted its permit on February 24. According to its application, the student radio station previously operated at very low power as a part 15 unlicensed station. The application states,

The station is educational in focus, with typically 200 students participating in the departments [sic] major each academic term…The student station has operated in various forms on the UCO campus since the 1960’s…The proposed LPFM signal would allow the signal of the station to extend beyond the limited coverage provided by title 47, part 15, and reach both students residing on campus and living in the surrounding community…The student radio station currently operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, year round with music, local university news and information, talk programs, and university sports coverage…”

This marks the return of a licensed student radio station on campus. The formerly student-run KCSC-FM (which launched in 1966) is now the professionally-run public radio station KUCO-FM.

LPFM Construction Permits Granted this Week

Construction permits were issued to the following groups this week:

Trinity Chapel, Inc. (Powder Springs, GA)
Spreading Cheer (Sandy Springs, SC)
C.A.M. Community Radio, Inc. (Snellville, GA)
Hope Radio of Hillsboro (Hillsboro, OH)
Brandon Community Broadcasting Inc. (Brandon, FL)
Hispanic Heritage Radio Network (Leon Springs, TX)
Voice of Diversity (Fayetteville, AR)

Dismissals this Week

The following groups had LPFM applications dismissed this week:

Unlimited Recovery Broadcasting Inc. (Douglasville, CA)
Restoration Center, Inc. (Ft. Myers, FL)
Gulf Harbour Public Radio, Inc. (Fort Myers, FL)
Sarepta Community Services, Inc. (Palm Bay, FL)
Young America Promotion and Preservation (St. Simons Island, GA)
Ronald R. Erickson Ministries (Lebanon, OR)

LPFM Watch is a weekly feature on Radio Survivor appearing every Thursday.

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