In Canadian Border Case, Translator Power Hike Is Upheld
The FCC Audio Division has
rejected a broadcaster’s request to overturn a translator power increase in
southwestern New York state. The case involves interpretation of rules about
translator interference contours near the Canadian border.
Backyard Broadcasting Olean asked the FCC in 2009 to reconsider the grant of a construction
permit to Colonial Radio Group under which Colonial could increase power and
make other changes to its FM translator in Olean, N.Y.
owns WPIG(FM) and WHDL(AM) in that community. Colonial owns WBYB(FM) in Eldred,
Pa., which feeds the Olean translator.
Backyard said FCC rules require that
for translators within 320 kilometers of the Canadian
distance to the 34 dBμ contour may not exceed 60 km in any direction. It told the FCC that the translator
contour exceeds that, in nearly every direction. Colonial
replied that it
was not in violation because its contour does not cross the Canadian
border; it pointed to similar cases where applications had been granted.
Backyard argued that its interests had
been hurt because it competes in the Arbitron Metro with the translator’s
primary station; it also complained that it hadn’t been able to participate in
the original proceeding because the CP application was granted only a day
before public notice of acceptance.
accepted that Backyard could present an objection on those grounds but it denied
Backyard’s main argument. “We have consistently applied the 60-kilometer
limitation … only in circumstances where an FM translator station’s proposed 34
dBμ interference contour does cross the U.S.-Canada border,” the staff wrote.
“This practice results from our understanding of our treaty
obligations and furthers the public interest by providing maximum flexibility
for FM translators.” It cited provisions of the governing agreement with
Canada, the FM Working Arrangement, and said that it has consulted with its
Canadian counterpart, Industry Canada, in accordance with their mandates to cooperate
in the most efficient use of FM broadcasting channels.
FCC said the arrangement, which does not otherwise specify a
geographic scope, applies only in situations where the 34 dBμ contours cross
the border. It thus denied Backyard’s petition for reconsideration and
issued a subsequent license to Colonial based on the CP.