11/2/05 FCC Grants First LPFM Ownership Transfers
The FCC has just approved the sales of KAMG-LP in Enid, OK, from Central Assembly of God Church to Amigos Ministry 10/20/05; WVDV-LP, First Baptist Church of Sebring (FL) to Ministerio Radial Christiano de Sebring; and WZPH-LP, Zephyrhills, FL from Ron Clark Ministries to Pasco County Educational Corp.
The FCC previously granted a Form 316 “Change of Board” request, but hese are the first complete ownership transfer of LPFM stations via Form 314. The FCC created new procedures to facilitate this.
Question: Can LPFM ownership be transferred to another group? KKXI-LP
Answer: Form 314 should be used when a complete ownership change occurs; Form 315 when there is no change of ownership but all or virtually all board change, and Form 316 when the board changes by 50% or more (i.e. four members of an 8 member board).. Some questions asked in these forms (i.e. full-power points system and “market size / share”) do not apply to LPFM and should be answered “N/A”.
Question: What percentage of an LPFM’s original board can be changed without notifying the FCC? Jeffrey Mein WJIH-LP
Answer: 49% since 50% constitutes “negative control” (a tie vote), thus, when three members of a six-member board change, the FCC must be notified. The FCC must be notified of address change via paper Form 5072. Bi-annual ownership reports are not required. (There is no requirement that board members live within ten miles of the transmitter site if an organization’s headquarters and transmitter are within ten miles of each other. This is true even for “three point” stations.)
Question: What happens if a station’s state corporate records / board is different from the organizational / board information given to the FCC? Randy Bennett, WCEE-LP; Melbourne, FL
Answer: So far, nothing. State and FCC officials not cross-check corporate paperwork with each other, they don’t care when discrepancies are pointed out. Two boards in Huber Heights, OH both claimed to be the real operator on an LPFM station serving Dayton. The FCC refused to get involved. Local officials also refused to rule; a civil lawsuit ensued. Differences were ultimately resolved before the case went to trial.
Question: Since LPFM stations are permitted to “make changes at any time that reduce, but not increase” their Points, can an operating LPFM withdraw its promises to air eight hours a day of local programming and 12 hours total? CCB
Answer: We don’t know; do you? Does any station have the nerve to tell the FCC that they do not plan to keep their promise because they “don’t need to anymore?”
Change Frequency to Increase Coverage
9/9/05 The FCC has granted permission for KAAJ-LP, Monticello, UT (near Four Corners) to move from 103.5 to 103.9 to eliminate interference from new KBDX-FM, Blanding, UT. FCC regulations have always permitted an LPFM to change frequencies; this may be the first time that that an LP has requested a channel change. The approval, which took three months, was an easy decision. KAAJ-LP was Intermediate Frequency short-spaced; 16 other channels were available.
KAAJ-LP achieves an incredible 60% audience share when airing live the City Council meetings or out-of-town games of their high school football team (state champions). This is easy considering that KAAJ-LP is the only station in this town of 2,000. This station, operated by the First Baptist Church, has been on the air since October 2002. It is being featured in the Salt Lake Tribune as “the only successful low power FM station in Utah.”
After extensive advance publicity, the station will “count-down” to its frequency change which will completed in a couple minutes since KAAJ-LP’s RFcast transmitter is frequency-agile and its Nicom BKG77 antenna is broadband. Christian Community Broadcasters has handled all filings, including the frequency change, for First Baptist and provided the RF equipment. Incidentally, the FCC twice gave KAAJ-LP only 28-31 watts ERP, rather that the correct 100 watts. The problem? FCC software confused a ravine with a mountains! (There are many HAAT errors in the Rocky Mountains.)
NEXUS CAN HELP YOUR STATION. RECNET.com weekly free color-coded Encroachment Reports can give years of advance warning or potential fatal or serious encroachment problems. At any point in the process (the sooner the better), an LPFM can seek a new location, or a new frequency, or both. WWTL-LP and WEAK-LP, both on 106.7 in Ohio are being seriously encroached by Clear Channel stations, WMRN 106.5 and WSRW 106.7
Since the FCC wants to help LPFM; they might waiver a rule and allow 10 watt operation now (before another window), permit a move more than 3.5 miles, or allow operation on 87.9 as a last resort. LPFMs have already been permitted two separate transmitters moves to double the total distance. Two problems: twice the processing time and the FCC will not grant even a temporary move to a “red” location. The FCC has permitted one Class D and one translator to operate on 87.9 but this is not a option for operators near Canada, Mexico, nor channel 6 TV stations. Nexus is here to help.