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No LPFM for Tacoma Hilltop Foundation

The FCC declined to reconsider the group’s application for a low-power station

The FCC Media Bureau has denied another petition appealing its rejection of an application for a low-power FM station, this one in Tacoma, Wash.

It has been issuing a string of such rulings as applicants appeal decisions the FCC made after the filing window for new LPFMs closed late last year.

This one involves the Tacoma Hilltop Foundation, which hoped to build a station to serve the Hilltop neighborhood in Tacoma. 

In January the Media Bureau dismissed its application for failure to meet minimum distance spacing requirements with respect to second-adjacent KNKX(FM) in Tacoma as well as low-power TV Channel 6 station KYMU(LD) in Seattle.

A view of the Hilltop neighborhood. Credit: Jacob Rose/CC BY-SA 4.0

Tacoma Hilltop then asked the bureau to reconsider. President Donald Brown told the FCC that in filing its application, the organization had thought that the FCC’s Licensing and Management System automatically took into account second-adjacent stations and low-power TV licenses when determining the power of its proposed LPFM station and adjusted the proposed station’s parameters based on any short-spacings. 

For that reason, he told the FCC, it thought that no second-adjacent waiver request or TV Channel 6 agreement was required.

The bureau now has upheld its decision.

It said that according to its rules, an LPFM application that fails to meet spacing requirements is to be “dismissed with no opportunity to correct the deficiency,” something also made clear in the public procedures notice of the filing window.

“Although … the Local Community Radio Act of 2010 authorizes the commission to waive second-adjacent channel spacing requirements,” it continued, “an LPFM applicant must specifically request the waiver and demonstrate that its proposed LPFM facilities ‘will not result in interference to any authorized radio service,’” it continued.

“The bureau explicitly cautioned LPFM applicants that it will dismiss any application that fails to comply with the second-adjacent channel spacing requirements without requesting a waiver, supported by the requisite engineering exhibit” and that a dismissed applicant cannot seek reinstatement.

“Finally, we reject petitioner’s claim that it was unaware it was required to file a request for a second-adjacent channel waiver or a TV Channel 6 agreement. Applicants are required to comply with the commission’s rules and procedures, which were clearly outlined by the Procedures Public Notice.”

[Related: “No New LPFM for Univ. of Wisconsin-Milwaukee“]