FCC Hands Down New Dismissal in LPFM Advocacy Case

Only one party has standing among hundreds of objections submitted by Prometheus, Common Frequency and Center for International Media Action
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The Federal Communications Commission took swift action against a new filing submitted by the three groups that had objected to the granting of nearly 1,000 new translators.

The result: The FCC dismissed all objections except for one.

In June, the Prometheus Radio Project, the Center for International Media Action and Common Frequency objected to the Audio Division’s decision to deny the group’s informal objection. The three filed a reconsideration decision saying the FCC violated its own administration rules in issuing the original denial.

[Read: FCC Outright Dismisses All 998 Informal Objections by LPFM Advocacy Groups]

Among its complaints: the FCC incorrectly interpreted the group’s original filing, made decisions that are in conflict with its own Report and Order, ignored certain precedents, and said the arguments that the FCC presented are based on inadequate study.

The groups say that the FCC has not given LPFM and translator applications equal treatment. As a result, they ask that the commission reconsider the previously denied objections, that an updated LCRA interpretation be established and that all future translator applications comply with updated LCRA language.

After the groups voluntarily withdrew objections to several hundred of the original objections to AM Class C and D stations in early June, the group sought FCC reconsideration to the remaining 328 FM translator applications to which they originally objected.

The FCC moved to dismiss that new request — in all except one case.

According to Albert Shuldiner, chief of the Audio Division of the Media Bureau, the three petitioners are bound by the fact that they initiated the proceeding through one large information objection, rather than by filing individual petitions to deny each application.

As a result, a petition for reconsideration can only be filled by a party whose interests are adversely affected by the action taken by the commission. The three petitioners do not fall into that category.

Except in one case, that is. There is one party that has a claim, and that is Paul Bame, engineering director at Prometheus, who personally signed the objections on behalf of Prometheus and is also a listener of LPFM station WPPM in Philadelphia.

In the original complaint, Bame said that the station is short-spaced to the application for a new FM translator in Camden, N.J., and as a result, this short spacing could potentially inhibit WPPM’s ability to relocate and thereby impinge on Bame’s ability to receive the station.

Despite the 18 pages of technical rebuttal submitted by Prometheus in this case, the three-page response by the Audio Division focused only on the fact that the groups have not established proper standing to file a petition for reconsideration on any other applications.

The bureau said it will address the merits surrounding that application at a later date.

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