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FCC Upholds New CP in Santa Nella, Calif.

Free Radio Santa Nella can build on 90.9

An applicant for a new FM station in Santa Nella, Calif., has won its construction permit despite an objection from a third party about the proposed antenna radiation pattern.

Free Radio Santa Nella was one of two mutually exclusive applications in MX Group 28 that emerged from the FCC’s auction in 2021 for new noncommercial educational FM licenses. The other was Ondas de Vida Inc., which sought a CP in Volta, Calif.

The commission staff picked the Free Radio Santa Nella application as the tentative winner after conducting a fair distribution analysis followed by a point system analysis.

But Albert Adam David, an individual in Berwyn, Ill., who has filed informal objections to several recent FCC radio licensing decisions, did so again in this case.

He said the application should be dismissed because its proposed antenna radiation pattern varies more than 2 dB per 10 degrees of azimuth, between the 340 and 350 degree radials. The rules state that directional antennas used to protect short-spaced stations with a radiation pattern that varies more than 2 dB per 10 degrees of azimuth aren’t allowed.

“David further argues that because the proposed antenna pattern affects the FRSN application’s population and area data, it should no longer be the tentative selectee,” the FCC wrote in a summary.

Free Radio Santa Nella responded to the commission saying the allegation was indeed accurate but that it had amended its application to bring the pattern into compliance.

Audio Division Chief Al Shuldiner now has ruled that the objection raised no non-curable defects and that the amended application complies with the rules. He said the change didn’t affect the FCC’s earlier analysis or outcome.

So the FCC has granted the CP for 90.9 MHz in Santa Nella. It noted that when its point system is used to determine an outcome, the licensee must maintain the comparative qualifications for which it received points for four years, and comply with restrictions on station modifications and acquisitions.

David has filed other informal objections in recent FCC cases involving new stations or license renewals, raising challenges on various legal or technical grounds.

Though the results of these cases have varied, the commission has denied his specific objections and desired outcomes. For instance he challenged renewal of a translator for Windy City Broadcasting in Chicago; the FCC denied his argument in March. He opposed license renewal for an FM station and translator by Elohim Group Corp. in Texas; the commission denied that in May. He also filed an objection to the selection of Arizona Western College for a new NCE FM; the FCC denied that objection in June.