Licensed radio stations of all types–including LPFMs–are required to stay on the air, unless granted specific and limited exemptions by the FCC. The logic is clear and sound: licenses are for broadcasting, not collecting and monopolizing like so many empty parcels of land.
A church-owned station in Buffalo, WY recently fell afoul of this rule. KBTG-LP had its license canceled by the Commission because it was off air for more than one whole year. The station went silent in May 2014 and then actually changed hands the following November, still remaining silent. In an appeal the new owner told the FCC that because they had also received a construction permit to move the station which expires in July 2016, that they believed they had until that later date to resume broadcasting.
In return, the Commission maintains that it had advised the licensee twice in formal communications that the license would expire in May 2015 if the station did not return to the air, regardless of the construction permit deadline. Thus the licensee’s appeal was denied and the license has been cancelled.
It’s always unfortunate when an LPFM leaves the air, especially when the situation appears to be triggered by misunderstanding the rules and communication from the FCC. When in doubt, an LPFM station should seek qualified advice from a communications attorney or an LPFM support group, or even contact the FCC’s Media Bureau itself for clarification.
The National Federation of Community Broadcasters is a valuable resource for all community radio stations, including low-power stations. The NFCB staff can provide advice and referrals to qualified consultants for many common questions and problems. LPFM community radio stations may join the NFCB, which offers memberships on a sliding scale based upon an organization’s budget.
Alleged Interfering LPFM Also Associated with Cesar Guel
Last week Jennifer reported on complaints that low-power KYEB-LP in Garland, TX is causing interference with nearby commercial station, KESS-FM, and is airing commercials, which would be in violation of LPFM’s non-commercial requirements. Radio World also reports that KESS owner Univision points out alleged serial-LPFM applicant Antonio Cesar Guel is also associated with KYEB. Thus far there have been no comments from the FCC or KYEB.