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Threshold Prevails Again in New FM Case

The FCC rejects an appeal from a local broadcaster that will see a new FM signal moving into its area

Premier Broadcasters Inc. has failed again to overturn an FCC decision involving the placement of an FM station in its neighborhood.

This is a case involving a comparison of communities in Oregon and Washington state. Back in 2011 Threshold Communications won an allotment in Clatskanie, Ore., through FCC Auction 91, but then asked to relocate the allotment to become KVNW, the first local transmission service at Napavine in Washington state, about a 50-minute drive to the northeast of the original community.

The Media Bureau granted that change and in 2017, the FCC affirmed it. But Premier, which owns an AM, an FM and a translator not far from Napavine, filed a petition for reconsideration, arguing among other things that Clatskanie had a greater need for a new radio service.

The FCC denied that in 2019 while clarifying the evidentiary burdens that broadcasters must meet in such cases.

Premier then came back with a second petition for reconsideration challenging that on several grounds, but the FCC now has said no — dismissing the appeal in part and denying it in part, and reaffirming the grant of the community change.

Napavine welcome sign (Photo credit: Brandon Hansen/Chewelah Independent)

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The language of this order is legalistic and detailed but will be of interest to those who follow how the FCC chooses among applicants, handles allotment changes and so forth. If you like reading about “urbanized area service presumptions,” “burdens of persuasion regarding evidence” and rebuttal methodologies, you can read it here.

But the upshot is that Premier didn’t get what it was looking for — to block the change of community that will allow Threshold to build in Napavine.

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