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FCC Denies Request for Reinstatement of Florida CP

Forfeiture has been re-examined numerous times since 2014

What appears to be a last-ditch effort by Urban One Broadcasting Network to salvage a radio station construction permit in Florida has failed. The FCC this week denied a Petition for Declaratory Ruling by the broadcaster to reinstate Urban One’s forfeited permit to construct an FM radio station in Cross City, Fla.

Urban One’s efforts to resurrect the CP for WURB(FM) date back to 2014 and its acquisition of an expiring construction permit from Alex Media Inc., according to FCC documents. Urban One filed an application to modify the construction permit just months before the expiration and proposed a new tower site. However, Suncoast Radio filed an objection to the modification saying it did not comply with the commission’s rules.

The FCC agreed and, in a subsequent notice sent on July 17, 2014, gave Urban One 30 days to amend its modification application. At the same time, the commission noted the CP permit for the proposed station was due to expire days later on July 21, 2014.

The FCC told Urban One: “This letter does not extend the expiration date of that construction permit or provide any additional time to construct.”

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According to FCC documents, Urban One followed up by filing two petitions for reconsideration — one asking for Special Temporary Authority to operate the FM at the new site — which were filed following the CP’s expiration. The FCC denied both in early 2015, determining “the construction permit automatically expired and was forfeited.”

What followed has been years of petitions and appeals filed by Urban One seeking return of the CP. The broadcaster’s most recent Petition for Declaratory Ruling was filed in June 2021 and sought reinstatement of the CP with an additional 18 months to construct the facility.

Albert Shuldiner, chief of the FCC’s audio division, perhaps ended the back and forth for good with a letter sent Wednesday to William Johnson, managing member, Urban One Broadcasting Network, which stated: “In short, then, there remains no construction permit for us to reinstate, as it was forfeited by its own terms on July 21, 2014. The call sign WURB was deleted, and the unbuilt Cross City FM channel assignment was deleted and designated as a vacant allotment in the Table of Allotments, from which it was subsequently added to the Auction 109 inventory.”

The FCC says channel 249C3 at Cross City, Fla., was included in the inventory of the recently completed Auction 109.

Cross City, Fla., is a city of 1,689, according to the 2020 Census, located about an hour west of Gainesville, Fla., on the state’s Gulf Coast.

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