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Media Bureau Changes Course, Revokes CP Grant for Oregon FM Translator

New evidence revealed that the translator would cause interference to the signal of a local LPFM

A construction permit for an FM translator in Oregon has been rescinded due to issues of interference.

In December 2017, Bustos Media Holdings filed a construction permit for FM translator station K260DK in Portland, Ore. The Media Bureau established a deadline of Jan.10, 2018 for anyone wishing to file a petition to deny. On Feb. 1 of that year, the bureau granted the application.

[Read: FCC Addresses Reconsideration Petitions on FM Translator Interference Rules]

A month later, the Media Institute for Social Change (MISC) filed a petition for reconsideration saying it had only recently become aware of the application and said the bureau should rescind the application grant because the translator would cause interference to listeners of its station KXRW(LP) in Vancouver, Wash.

To support its claim, MISC submitted maps, studies and lists showing the issues of interference. It included maps of the 60 dBu contours of KXRW and the translator, a map showing 10 listeners of KXRW whose addresses fell within the translator’s contour, a map showing listeners outside of the 60 dBu contour who were predicted to receive interference from the translator, a map showing areas where the translator’s signal would cause interference to the signal of KXRW, a list of KXRW listeners, an engineering statement and declarations from 25 listeners of KXRW.

MISC also asserted that Section 5 of the Local Community Radio Act of 2010 requires the commission to favor LPFM service in this case.

Bustos opposed the petition, saying the petition was not properly verified.

The bureau responded to Bustos and denied its petition. The bureau found no merit to Bustos’ claim that a subsequent Application for Review filed by MISC did not concisely and plainly state important questions of law. It also dismissed Bustos’ assertion that the AFR should be outright dismissed because the AFR was signed by a nonattorney. But that in itself does not violate the rules, the bureau said.

But the full about-face came from the Media Bureau soon after. It agreed with MISC and said it erred by concluding that MISC did not give enough evidence that the translator would interfere with the reception of KXRW by listeners.

The bureau found that the petition did indeed contain “convincing evidence” that the translator would cause such interference. That included a list of KXRW listeners, a map demonstrating that 10 of those listeners resided within the translator’s 60 dBu contour and proof that a future FM translator would result in interference to reception KRXW by those 10 listeners.

Thus, the bureau found that the company presented convincing evidence of predicted interference. As a result, the bureau granted the Application for Review and rescinded the grant for the construction permit for K260DK in Portland.