On Monday, the application for a new LPFM license for North Columbus Community Radio in Columbus, Ohio was dismissed by the FCC. Several Informal Objections and Petitions to Deny (by REC Networks, Prometheus Radio Project, Common Frequency, and Percy Squire) were submitted in reference to this application. The application was dismissed by the request of the listed applicant Domingos Dealmeida. Interestingly, although Dealmeida is listed as being President of North Columbus Community Radio on the application, an affidavit along with Percy Squire’s Amended Petition to Deny indicates that Dealmeida is not on the board of the non-profit applying for the license. In the Affidavit Dealmeida states,
I am not a director of an entity known as North Columbus Community Radio (NCCR) and have no interest of any nature in this entity…I have not authorized anyone to file an application for a low power FM radio station on my behalf or on behalf of NCCR…I request that the Federal Communications Commission immediately dismiss any application for a broadcast license filed in my name or on behalf of NCCR…I reside at 2187 Ferris Road, Columbus, Ohio 43224. Juan Pineda does not reside at 2187 Ferris Road, Columbus, Ohio 43224.”
Squire’s Petition to Deny provides a glimpse into the extent of the misrepresentations in the North Columbus Community Radio application. He retained a private investigator, Martin Yant, in order to delve into the group behind the application. Yant states in his affidavit that he investigated the directors and the location for the proposed LPFM station. He found that the address for the station was the site of Peace United Methodist Church and that the church had not given permission for a radio station to broadcast from its site. Additionally, he was unable to locate two directors of North Columbus Community Radio when he visited addresses listed for them on the application. The third listed director, Domingos Dealmeida, denied any involvement with the group and also didn’t know another of the listed directors (who was actually listed on the application as living at Dealmeida’s address).
The North Columbus Community Radio application was prepared by Hispanic Christian Community Network head Antonio Cesar Guel. As we’ve reported, Guel helped prepare more than 200 applications in the recent LPFM filing window, some of which were the source of an FCC review, which led to the dismissal of a number of the contested applications. Additionally, numerous groups have filed oppositions and Petitions to Deny in reference to other applications prepared by Guel due to discrepancies in the applications. Many are arguing that Guel is a mass-filer, filing applicants that don’t actually represent local organizations. So far, 94 applications associated with Guel have been dismissed.
As I looked through North Columbus Community Radio’s opposition to Squire’s Petition to Deny, more details emerged about how many of these Guel-prepared applications may have come to be. North Columbus Community Radio acknowledged that its “consultant inadvertently included erroneous information in the application concerning certain addresses in the originally filed North Columbus application which has since been corrected.”
In an included statement, Hispanic Christian Community Network (HCCN) employee Jennifer Juarez says that she was asked to contact churches in order to gauge their interest in LPFM. She says,
One of my duties was to contact ministries/churches to inform them about the opportunity to obtain a radio station for their community. During the process lots of people were interested and others weren’t. In this matter I had to create two lists, which include all ministries that agree and the others that disagree. I send them to my manager without knowing that by mistake, I had confused them. When the applications were created, names and addresses of ministries that disagree were placed by mistake. I want to make clear that it was an error by confusion. In the hurry to close the FCC window, we didn’t realize that we had mistaken the list.”
This statement was meant to explain why the North Columbus Community Radio application INITIALLY listed erroneous addresses and contact information in its original application. Following Squire’s Petition to Deny, the group amended its application to include a second set of addresses and contacts (as discussed above), which were also questioned by Squire. The group originally had an address listed at 64 W. Lane in Columbus, Ohio, the site of the St. Thomas More Newman Center, which is a Catholic church. In December, 2013, representatives of the Newman Center told a private investigator that they had no knowledge of North Columbus Community Radio or its listed directors (Jose Cabrera, Jose Gonzales, and Juan Pineda). In his amended Petition to Deny in January, 2014, Squire argues that, “The Amended Application changed the address of the main campus for NCCR and its studio, all of the addresses of NCCR’s three directors and substituted a new director for one of the directors named in the Original Application. NCCR’s original application contained totally bogus addresses for each of these categories, the address of The Newman Center on Ohio State University’s campus, an entity totally unrelated to NCCR.”
It’s strange that even though North Columbus Community Radio knew that its application was under scrutiny, it still persisted in updating its application to include a site (Peace United Methodist Church) and directors who had not given permission for the proposed LPFM project.
Other Dismissals and LPFM Grants this Week
In other LPFM news, an application from Bethel Pentecostal Gospel Temple Apostolic, Inc. (Hackensack, New Jersey) was also dismissed. A few groups had applications granted, including University of Washington, Bothell (Bothell, Washington) and Clerestory, Inc. (Chelsea, Alabama).
University of Washington plans to use the new LPFM license for its student-run radio station UWave. As noted in its application, University of Washington campuses already hold licenses for radio stations (KEXP–for which it has submitted an application in order to assign it to the non-profit that runs the station and KUOW), but neither is run by students. This LPFM application for UWave was initially dismissed, but was approved following an engineering amendment.
Clerestory states in its application that it will air programming focused on “educating the public as to the plight of the materially poor and at-risk in our community…through both live and recorded conversations with community leaders discussing shortcomings in Birmingham’s relief infrastructure and productive ways that those shortcomings may be addressed.”
We cover LPFM news every Thursday in our LPFM Watch feature.