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FCC Dismisses Request for FM Translator CP in Alaska

Commission said the licensee could not prove it had financial solvency when it filed the permits

There will be one less FM translator constructed in The Last Frontier state after the Federal Communications Commission moved to dismiss and deny a request by an Alaska licensee to obtain several FM translator construction permits (CP).

In 2013, Alaska Educational Radio System Inc. (AERS) filed four applications proposing new FM translator stations serving Moose Pass, Palmer and Hope, Alaska. Soon after, Turquoise Broadcasting Co. filed petitions to deny those applications, alleging that AERS lacked the financial qualifications necessary to construct and operate those proposed translators.

Among other things, Turquoise pointed to a report that AERS filed in 2010 with the State of Alaska that showed that AERS had real and personal property assets of no monetary value.

[Read: AM Station Hit with $15,000 Forfeiture After Public File Lapse]

Afterward, AERS filed two additional applications — which proposed new FM translator stations serving Seward, Alaska. Turquoise jumped in again, alleging that AERS still lacked the financial qualifications to construct and operate the translators it proposed. Even though AERS responded to the petition to deny, its formal comments did not specifically address the allegations about its financial qualifications.

At this point the Media Bureau stepped in and dismissed the applications because it could not determine that AERS was financially qualified at the time it filed the applications. This is an important consideration. FCC rules state that before a grant of a CP for an FM translator can be made, applicants must have the ability to construct and operate the proposed facility for three months — without revenue — at the time they file.

When AERS filed a petition to review the finding — which the Media Bureau subsequently dismissed — AERS filed a petition again, which is when the commission itself stepped in to issue a ruling.

In a memorandum on Oct. 2, the FCC affirmed the bureau’s decision to dismiss the applications. AERS had two opportunities to provide helpful insights regarding its financial qualifications, but failed to provide any documentation that would have allowed the bureau to assess whether AERS had “reasonable assurance of committed financing sufficient to construct the proposed facility and operate it for three months without revenue at the time [the applications were filed],” the commission said.

Because of AERS’s failure to provide this information, the commission said, it formally dismissed the of applications and denied the licensee’s request for review.

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