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FCC Dismisses Petition Against Lake City, Idaho LPFM

With last argument cleared, Lake City Lighthouse free to site new low-power FM

The FCC has dismissed a Petition for Reconsideration filed by Hayden Christian Broadcasting. The action clears the way for Lake City Lighthouse to locate a new LPFM at Lake City, Idaho.

Hayden had filed a competing application to locate an LPFM in Hayden, Idaho.

The case is interesting because it highlights the differences in locating a new LPFM in comparison to a full-power station.

For those keeping track, Lighthouse originally filed in 2001 as Calvary Chapel Lake City. Its original application specified Lake City, Idaho as the proposed community of license. Hayden argued that Lake City didn’t qualify as a community for the purposes of locating an LPFM allotment.

In 2004, CCLC amended its application to specify nearby, larger Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. The commission decided specifying Lake City was okay because that location provided an identifiable geographic population sufficient for siting an LPFM and it dismissed Hayden’s petition.

Hayden then challenged that Lake City is a licensable community; it also claimed that as time went on, CCLC lost its proposed transmitter site and its governing board changed completely. Hayden argued CCLC didn’t notify the commission about the board changes.

In 2008, CCLC did ask for a minor modification of its construction permit to specify a new frequency and new transmitter site. The broadcaster also told the FCC about its board changes and its new name, Lake City Lighthouse.

The agency okayed the changes, which were uncontested, in 2008.

Fast forwarding to the decision released today, the commission said several of Hayden’s arguments are old and don’t merit rehashing. However some of its arguments were new, specifically that CCLC is not qualified to be an LPFM applicant because it doesn’t have reasonable assurance of a viable antenna site and that its board has undergone a complete transformation since the original application was filed.

The Media Bureau was not persuaded by the new arguments, saying that Hayden could have raised the issues before and didn’t, specifically that the transmitter site loss and board changes occurred well before the application was filed. CCLC said it had reasonable assurance of the transmitter site when it filed its application in 2001 because it owned the property, and then sold the land in 2006.

Either way, according to the FCC, the agency doesn’t require NCEs to certify the availability of a transmitter site in its application procedures.

The Media Bureau decided today that CCLC had reasonable site assurance when it filed the original application, and now, as Lake City Lighthouse, the broadcaster will be allowed to file a modification application specifying a new transmitter site.

As for Hayden’s allegation that CCLC’s board had completely changed, the bureau said turnover is common among nonprofit boards, and it treats such actions as minor changes. The agency admonished CCLC for not reporting the loss of the transmitter site when it sold the property and for not reporting its board changes.

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