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FCC Reaffirms CP Grant for N.H. Translator

Decision ends four-year case

The Federal Communications Commission is sticking with an earlier decision to grant Shaw Communications a CP to build a new FM translator serving Berlin, N.H.

This week it denied requests by Barry Lunderville, licensee of licensee of WMOU(AM), also in Berlin, to review the decision and stay the CP grant.

In 2003, Shaw applied for a CP to build a new, independently owned FM translator station to receive the signal of WVMJ(FM). Lunderville protested in 2004, arguing that the proposed translator would violate FCC rules because it would be incapable of receiving a signal direct off-air and would fail to operate at reduced power within 320 kilometers of the Canadian border. He also argued that granting the CP would be contrary to the commission’s policy prohibiting FM translators from directly competing with full-service stations.

The FCC approved the CP in 2005 and denied the objection, saying it had analyzed Shaw’s proposal and concluded that the proposed translator would be within the primary station’s 20 dBu contour and that, as such, would be able to receive the primary station’s signal direct off-air.

The agency also had found Lunderville’s Canadian border argument unpersuasive. It said that in the late 1990s the United States and Canada agreed to amend their “FM Agreement” to reflect an increase of the 34 dBu interfering contour distance for translators within 320 kilometers of the border from 32 kilometers to 60 kilometers. Shaw’s predicted 34 dBu interference contour does not exceed 60 kilometers, the commission said in its decision this week.

The FCC also rejected his argument that allowing the importation of a distant commercial station by an FM translator to a well-served market would “subvert full-service broadcast stations by redistributing advertising revenues away from them and thus reducing the overall level of service to the public.”