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FCC Gives Green Light to Two NCEs in Same Community

A since-dismissed objection said granting both applications is against the FCC’s multiple application rule

Two new noncommercial education (NCE) FM stations are coming to central Idaho.

The Federal Communications Commission granted two construction permits to the Idaho State Board of Education (ISBE) as part of the 2021 NCE filing window. At that time, the Media Bureau identified the community of license as Stanley, Idaho, a town with a population of only 116 people.

An objection was raised, however, by Triangle Access Broadcasting. In December 2021 the broadcaster filed an objection to the applications, asking the commission to dismiss the second Stanley application because, according to Triangle, granting both applications goes against FCC Rules as both of the applications will serve the same community.

The Idaho State Board of Education is looking to build two NCE FM stations in Stanley, Idaho. (Photo courtesy of Sam Beebe)

Triangle quoted the commission’s multiple application rule, saying that when a new or pending application for an additional facilities is being considered, “no other application for new or additional facilities for a station of the same class to serve the same community may be filed by the same applicant … . Multiple applications may not be filed simultaneously.”

As a result, Triangle asked that the second application be dismissed.

But the bureau reminded Triangle that the multiple application rule it cited is not applicable for new NCE stations. The bureau also rejected Triangle’s argument that enforcement of the multiple application rule would be beneficial to mutually exclusive applicants. In this situation, both applications are singletons and are not prejudicial to other applicants.

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Triangle also asserted that enforcing the multiple application rule in this case would promote competition and diversity. But the bureau said that the multiple application rule was not intended to promote competition and diversity. “Moreover, the commission has implemented other policies to achieve these important goals, such as the adoption of a 10 application cap for the 2007 and 2021 NCE filing windows.”

As a result, the bureau dismissed the objection from Triangle and granted the two construction permits to ISBE.