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FCC Issues CP for NCE FM in Dahlonega, Ga.

It awarded it to Lumpkin Educational Broadcasting over a petition to deny

Lumpkin Educational Broadcasting has won a construction permit for a new noncom educational FM station in the small city of Dahlonega in northern Georgia, despite a petition to deny from another applicant.

Lumpkin had been chosen by the FCC Media Bureau as tentative winner of a mutually exclusive group in the 2021 NCE filing window, an MX group that also included Community Public Radio Inc.

But a dispute arose over how the FCC had applied its point system analysis.

A month after the close of the filing window, CPRI had amended its application to include a contour map and statement for a claim of two points under the FCC’s “diversity of ownership” provision. But the FCC staff did not award those points.

CPRI then filed a petition to deny. It argued that it had provided exhibits in its original application identifying it as the licensee of another station in Patterson, Ga., and that this information should have  been sufficient to show the FCC that it held no attributable interests in nearby stations. The later filing provided further confirmation that it was indeed eligible for the diversity points. CPRI also said that Lumpkin should have provided its own exhibit to justify a diversity of ownership claim.

But Lumpkin replied that the FCC had gotten it right because, among other things, CPRI had not included an exhibit to demonstrate that the contours of its proposed station at Cleveland, Ga., would not overlap with the service contours of the Patterson station.

In its decision upholding the choice of Lumpkin, the Media Bureau noted that its filing procedures for the NCE window required an applicant that claimed “diversity of ownership” points had to provide either a contour map showing no overlap with its proposed NCE FM station, or a statement that the applicant holds no attributable interests in any nearby radio stations.

CPRI did not include a map or sufficient information in its original application; it only listed the call sign, city and state of the other station in which it holds an interest; and it didn’t provide a statement that there was no contour overlap.

“While there is some flexibility in the type of documentation an applicant may provide to support a diversity of ownership claim, we do not independently check the distance between an applicant’s existing authorization(s) and its proposed new station, and whether the principal community contours of the stations will overlap,” the staff wrote.

Further, the information enhancing CPRI’s position arrived late and could not be considered. And the FCC said Lumpkin was not required to include an exhibit because it certified that it did not have an attributable interest in any other station.

So the commission rejected the petition to deny and granted a CP for a new NCE FM station in Dahlonega  to Lumpkin Educational Broadcasting Inc.

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