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BBN Wins New FM CP in Grand Forks

It prevails in a disputed MX group decision by the FCC

Logo of Grand Forks, N.D.Bible Broadcasting Network Inc. has won a construction permit to build a noncom educational FM station in Grand Forks, N.D. The FCC Media Bureau rejected a petition to deny from Grand Forks Bible Study Group, the applicant that originally had been chosen.

This decision settles one of the mutually exclusive (MX) groups of applications that emerged from the 2021 NCE filing window.

Last October the FCC chose Grand Forks Bible as the tentative selectee in MX Group 122, based on the system it uses to compare applications. It assigns points for factors such as whether an applicant is local and whether it has diversity of ownership.

But Bible Broadcasting Network argued that five points had been awarded improperly to Grand Forks Bible, because the latter had stated in its original application that it did not qualify for points. Only later did it amend its application.

In January the Media Bureau agreed and took back the points, saying applicants in such cases must certify that they qualify at the time of filing. This changed the outcome and Bible Broadcasting became the tentative winner.

Grand Forks Bible then filed its own petition laying out several arguments for why it should have retained the points. The sides went back and forth with competing rationales (which you can read here).

Now the Media Bureau has ruled in favor of Bible Broadcasting Network, granting the CP on the condition that it maintains those comparative qualifications for four years.

The bureau wrote: “It is undisputed that GFBS neglected to claim points under localism or diversity of ownership   at the time it filed its application, as required.” The FCC rejected other arguments as well, including a contention by Grand Forks Bible that Bible Broadcasting was not entitled to certain points of its own.

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