FCC Rules Against Roach in Route 81 Challenge - Radio World

FCC Rules Against Roach in Route 81 Challenge

Lloyd Roach has lost his petition to deny licenses to six Pennsylvania stations owned by Route 81 Radio, of which he is a former shareholder. The stations’ licenses have now been renewed.
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Lloyd Roach has lost his petition to deny licenses to six Pennsylvania stations owned by Route 81 Radio, of which he is a former shareholder. The stations’ licenses have now been renewed.

The stations are WCOJ in Coatesville; WCDL and WLNP in Carbondale; WNAK in Nanticoke; WAZL in Hazleton; and WHYL in Carlisle. WLNP is an FM, the others are AM stations.

The two sides have a disagreement that developed after Roach’s transfer of WCOJ to Route 81 in 2004. Roach was released from his duties as WCOJ’s CEO and chief operator in late 2005. He filed against the license renewals in 2006 citing technical and management violations.

He alleged that Route 81 violated rules for tower safety and maintenance of the WNAK and WHYL towers; he also alleged violations of “city-of-license requirements” at WCDL and WLNP. He stated that “despite repeated warnings by the Chief Operator and the Contract Engineer,” along with requests for additional capital to bring the stations into compliance, “it is [his] belief that these violations continue to exist today.”

The company called Roach’s petition “completely baseless,” and the FCC found that Roach had failed to present properly supported, specific allegations.

Roach made further arguments in his case to the commission. He alleged that Route 81 had misrepresented facts in an ownership report because it didn’t reveal a transfer of control that resulted when his equity interest in the company was valued at zero. He said the company “failed to perform on the promise of equity” and “took control” of his promised 18.9 percent. This “theft” violated FCC rules, he argued, because it was, in effect, a transfer that required approval.

The company said Roach had exercised a “put” option to sell his equity interest; this led to calculation of the value of his shares at zero. In any case, they said, he should be arguing the matter in court; the commission agreed, adding that the “equity loss” was not a transfer that required its approval.

He also said the stations had violated EEO rules and guidelines pertaining to a claimed “Vietnam Veteran’s preference” and also said the company violated an employment agreement. The company replied that Roach had been let go for cause and said the stations are compliant with EEO rules.

The FCC did not accept Roach’s arguments and noted, “In addition, while we appreciate the sacrifices made by all veterans, the commission’s rules do not establish a ‘preference’ for Vietnam or any other veterans.” It said his allegations regarding employment and operating agreements are private contractual disputes.

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