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Beasley Complains About Tampa Competition: A New LPFM

Says station hasn’t programmed as it promised to

Beasley Media Group says a new low-power FM station near Tampa, Fla., is not operating within FCC rules, and that the station’s license should be suspended until it does so.

The company filed a complaint against WVVF(LP) in the community of Town N’ Country, which is run by Hispanic Arts of Tampa on 100.1 MHz. Beasley has six stations in the Tampa area, five on the FM dial.

“WVVF-LP is operating in a manner inconsistent with the requirement that low-power FM stations ‘be used for the advancement of an educational program,’” Beasley told the FCC. It said the LPFM had started broadcasting in late June and “has positioned itself as a competitor with commercial stations in the Tampa market, including station WYUU, and has not operated in a manner that advances an educational program or that complies with representations made by Hispanic Arts in its application …”

It said the station “positioned itself as a ‘Latin Classic Hits’ and/or ‘Adult Tropical’ formatted station,” and that it is using professional produced promotional announcements, an on-air moniker of “Viva FM” and a production positioning package used by commercial stations including previously by one of Beasley’s. The low-power is also distributing a media kit and talking itself up as an “alternative” to the market’s Spanish-language commercial stations, Beasley said, and hasn’t delivered its promised live poetry, short stories or history programs. Read its filing here (PDF).

Radio World has reached out to the LPFM station for comment.

Reaction did come from the Low Power FM Advocacy Group, in a letter from Executive Director Dave Solomon, who took note of the complaint.

Solomon circulated an open letter addressed to George Beasley and company ownership, in which he expressed admiration for Beasley but disbelief at its filing. He asked Beasley to withdraw the objection. “There is, obviously, no case when a full power multi-million dollar corporation like yourself, should ever be in the situation where it is attacking a penniless LPFM due to fear of competition.” Read its letter here (PDF).