Florida Applicant Sees LPFM Again Denied

Concerns raised over unincorporated nature
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The third time was apparently not the charm for a Florida organization that was denied a license for a new low-power FM station. The reasons? Concerns over its unincorporated nature and a lack of clarity concerning the group’s officers and board members.

On Feb. 18, the Media Bureau dismissed a petition for reconsideration and clarification filed by Cocoa Minority Educational Media Association, which had applied for a new low-power FM station in Cocoa, Fla.

The application has been met with discord from the get-go. An organization called the Greater Blessed Assurance Apostolic Temple filed an objection saying that Cocoa’s application should be dismissed because Cocoa was not incorporated by the state of Florida prior to submitting its application, and remains unincorporated in Florida to date.

Cocoa responded in a filing to say, yes, it exists as an unincorporated not-for-profit educational association, but its application for an LPFM station is valid under Florida law.

The Media Bureau disagreed. According to Federal Communication Commission rules, an LPFM station can only be licensed to a nonprofit educational organization for the advancement of an educational program. It dismissed the application because although Cocoa said that it was an unincorporated association, it did not cite to the relevant portion of Florida statutes authorizing such entities, nor did it explain how its organizational structure was consistent with the statute.

In reviewing Cocoa’s bylaws, the bureau also found that the group failed to disclose all the parties to the application. The bureau found that that Cocoa had not provided documentation to show that Cocoa was anything other than an alter ego of its one listed officer, a Mr. Johnny Boone.

Cocoa appealed to the commission to reconsider, but this final petition was dismissed for two key reasons. One, the petition for reconsideration was not filed within the requisite 30 days after public notice of the action. Cocoa apparently missed the filing window by one business day. According to the bureau, this 30-day rule is sacrosanct and cannot be waived except in extraordinary circumstances, of which the bureau found none.

Two, the commission found that Cocoa’s petition was repetitious. “[Cocoa] merely restates the same arguments it presented to the commission in its application for review,” the commission said in its order on reconsideration. Those arguments were rejected in the original opinion and order.

For those reasons, the petition was dismissed.

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