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FCC Holds AMs’ Feet to Fire

Says two expanded AM band licensees can’t hold onto both new and original licenses forever

There are two related AM expanded band-related decisions out of the FCC today.

Previously, Artistic Media Partners asked for approval to assign WDND(AM), South Bend, Ind. to Fort Wayne Catholic Radio Group. It’s paired lower band station is WHLY(AM), South Bend. Times Communications owns WHLY, but had asked the FCC to approve assigning that license to the St. Thomas More Foundation.

The commission has now denied both requests.

The agency explained the commission allows AM licensees who have expanded band stations to operate both that and their standard band station for five years. The point of licensing facilities on the expanded AM band was to improve the quality of the AM service by reducing congestion and interference.

Those receiving such licenses were supposed to turn in their original license within five years.

However Artistic told the FCC it never acquired WHLY and the five-year period expired.

The commission said in its decision today no special circumstances existed in this case and granting what both Artistic and Times want wouldn’t be fair to those who turned in their original licenses within five years.