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Corrected Text: Groups Charge Translator ‘Trafficking’

Corrected Text: Groups Charge Translator 'Trafficking'

(Note, an earlier version of this story incorrectly referred to LFPM licenses rather than translators.)
A coalition of religious, community and media watchdog groups charges that speculators at three Idaho companies improperly made more than $800,000 selling the licenses to religious broadcasters, according to the LA Times. They want the government to withhold translator licenses and fix the problem.
They pointed fingers at Radio Assist Ministry Inc., Edgewater Broadcasting and World Link Radio Inc., saying the groups have been “trafficking” in licenses.
Complaining to the FCC is a group including the Prometheus Radio Project of Philadelphia and the United Church of Christ of Cleveland, the newspaper reported. The coalition said the companies sold 85 of the permits to the religious broadcasters, allowing them to retransmit radio signals sent by satellite, were violating federal laws against brokering licenses and were depriving other groups of media access.
A lawyer for the group was quoted by the LA Times as saying, “In effect, they’ve made an end run about the FCC’s rules and built a nationwide Christian broadcast network ahead of other applicants that have patiently waited to go through the regular low-power radio licensing process.”
Representatives of the Idaho companies involved did not return the newspaper’s calls for comment. An FCC spokeswoman said the agency was aware of the concerns. The churches were not accused of wrongdoing.
More info from the LA Times article:
“Two of the churches buying licenses were Costa Mesa-based Calvary Chapel Church Inc. and Horizon Christian Fellowship in San Diego. Calvary paid the Idaho companies $314,000 to add 23 licenses to the estimated 140 licenses the church owns or is seeking.
“Although low-power stations can be owned by any nonprofit group, churches typically find it easier to absorb the $20,000 cost of starting a station because they can rely on financial support from their congregations.
“The Idaho companies have aggressively marketed the licenses to churches. Last month, World Link executives visited the National Religious Broadcasters convention, advertising that it was ‘making available for acquisition hundreds of these FM translator station construction permits … to Christian broadcasters throughout the country.'”