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FCC Cancels Out Three Las Vegas Area Translators

Legacy Preservation Foundation failed to prove that its translators were up and operating

The FCC has yanked three FM translator licenses from Legacy Preservation Foundation after it was unable to prove the operational status of its facilities. 

In March 2022, an informal objection to the license renewal of the translators — K235CJ in Dolan Springs, Ariz., K288FS in Pahrump, Nev., and K280GF in Crystal, Nev. — raised doubts about their actual existence and opened a line of FCC questioning.

The translators had been rebroadcasting the signal of primary station KOMP(FM) in Las Vegas, which is owned by Lotus Communications, according to Morgan Skinner, managing member of Legacy Preservation Foundation (LPF).

The objection, which was filed by Amy Meredith, included links to a YouTube video with drone camera footage of the sites. She alleged the translators had not been not constructed at the authorized sites and “most likely have never been built,” and that the translators were not on the air at the time of her investigation.

LPF at first argued procedural issues in its defense, but failed to address the merits of the objection, according to the FCC. The vagueness of the response triggered a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) from the commission last fall. It asked for an operational snapshot of the three signals, proving operation, with evidence linke business contracts and utility bills along with the exact locations of the antennas.

In response, LPF claimed the license for one of the translators (K235CJ) at 94.9 MHz would not expire until August of 2025, which was untrue, according to the FCC’s recent notice. The commission said LPF was clearly aware that it had filed a blanket license renewal in June of 2021 for all three FM translators.

“As LPF opted not to provide any information regarding periods of operation or non-operation of K235CJ, it has therefore failed to rebut Meredith’s claim that the station did not transmit broadcast signals for more than 12 consecutive months. We therefore find that the K235CJ license expired,” the FCC wrote. A broadcast license expires after 12 months of consecutive silence or unauthorized operation.

LPF provided more details about the operations of the other two licenses (K280GF and K288FS).

Declarations from two individuals, identified as Scott Gentry and Joe Sands in the FCC filing, stated that both translators went silent on or about Dec. 30, 2021, to relocate to a different tower site with improved equipment. The FCC, however, found there is no evidence either facility ever resumed transmitting a signal from a new location. “Both declarations appear to be based solely on a review of the applications filed with the commission,” the FCC wrote, “and neither indicates any personal knowledge of the location, construction or operation of the translators.”

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An FCC agent from the Enforcement Bureau’s Los Angeles Field Office also visited the FM translator sites in May of 2022 and confirmed there was no evidence of construction at the K280GF and K288FS sites. While there were towers at the K235CJ site, “there was no evidence of FM broadcast antennas or other equipment on the towers,” the agent reported.

The FCC cited the explicit instructions it gave LPF to provide evidence of the translators’ operation. Without it, the FCC concluded that LPF had failed to refute the allegations. So, “The commission’s public and internal databases have been modified to indicate that the broadcast licenses for the referenced translators are expired,” Audio Division Chief Albert Shuldiner wrote. In turn, ’ call signs K235CJ, K280GF and K288FS have been deleted.

LPF’s Skinner told Radio World the organization has “no further steps” to take to get the licenses back now that they have been cancelled by the commission.

The FCC database shows that Legacy Preservation Foundation has at least one other FM translator (K246KB), which is licensed to Moapa, Nev. The licensee operated as Community Education Foundation Inc., until 2017.

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