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FCC Dismisses CP Application After Objector Claims Licensee Is Ineligible

A Georgia applicant had tentatively been awarded a NCE FM construction permit during the November 2021 filing window

The Federal Communications Commission has rescinded the assignment of a Georgia construction permit following objections that the selected licensee does not have the authority to hold a license. 

In November 2021, applications for a construction permit were filed by applicants including Sanctuary Church and Frequency Zero Inc. as part of a noncommercial educational FM station filing window. As part of the assignment process, the commission designated several applications to be part of NCE MX Group 63. After using a point system analysis that included points for items such as diversity and the applicant’s status as a local entity, Sanctuary was awarded three points while Frequency and two other applicants each received two points, leading the commission to designate Sanctuary as the tentative selectee of Group 63. 

But in a petition to deny filed soon after by Frequency, the applicant argued that Sanctuary is actually ineligible to hold an NCE license in the State of Georgia, nor is it recognized as an unincorporated association under Georgia law. In its petition, Frequency noted that not only are there no registered articles in incorporation for Sanctuary with the state but Sanctuary’s FCC registration number is actually registered to an entity called Downtown Baptist Sanctuary Church Inc. That entity failed to file annual registrations after being incorporated in 2008 and was dissolved as an entity by the Georgia Secretary of State in 2016, Sanctuary told the FCC.

In researching the issue, the FCC restated its requirement that applicants for NCE stations need to meet basic eligibility requirements and must be incorporated — or otherwise recognized under state law — at the time of filing in order to qualify for an NCE FM license. FCC staff independently reviewed the records of the Georgia Secretary of State and determined that Downtown Baptist’s corporate status lapsed in 2016. Accordingly, the corporation was dissolved. 

As a result, the commission found that Sanctuary is ineligible to hold an NCE license and thus the FCC dismissed its construction permit application. The commission said it is withholding action on both the petition and the Frequency application until dismissal of the Sanctuary application is finalized. 

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