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Monday, December 15, 2014

Commission Denies EMF Translator Move


The FCC has upheld a decision by the enforcement bureau to deny EMF's request to move an FM translator from Sherburne to Oneonta in upstate New York. EMF wanted to rebroadcast WKVU-FM which is in Utica. The station's proposed facilities do not overlap the 60 dBu contour of its existing facilities, so the application is considered a major change under FCC rules. And you may have noticed, WKVU is an FM station. EMF filed a waiver based on the bureau's 2011 Mattoon case in which the Commission decided that waiver was in the public interest. For the EMF waiver, the FCC says, "it's not even close." (Matton is a reference to Mattoon, IL, where Bud Walters was approved for a waiver to move an FM translator to serve as a fill-in for WCRA-AM, Effingham, Illinois).

In Mattoon, the Bureau found that waiver was in the public interest because the translator modification applicant did not have a history of filing serial minor modification applications, the proposed site was mutually exclusive with the licensed facility, the proposed move was not in an LPFM spectrum-limited market, and the translator would rebroadcast an AM station as an AM fill-in translator. EMF concedes that its proposal would not be used to rebroadcast an AM station.

EMF argued "the public interest of the grant of the application would be in many ways like the benefits enjoyed by the Cromwell, saving resources of the applicant and the Commission in processing multiple applications, and resulting in the 'efficient use of limited spectrum.'" The Commission rejected EMF's "untethered reading of the Mattoon waiver criteria, which explicitly included the requirement to rebroadcast an AM station," adding "we agree with the Bureau that the AM/FM distinction was crucial to the outcome in Mattoon which was expressly based, in part, on the public-interest goal of AM revitalization. The Commission's 2009 deregulatory rule change to permit AM/FM translator rebroadcasting has been an "unqualified success."

Read the entire FCC Opinion and Order HERE

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