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FM Radio Station Application Derailed by Missteps, Mistakes

Applications were filed as part of a 2021 filing window for a new NCE construction permit in Arizona

The Federal Communications Commission is asking the Media Bureau to find a new tentative selectee after petitions, pleadings and informal objections were filed against an application for a new noncommercial educational (NCE) construction permit in Arizona.

Specifically, the Media Bureau has been asked to conduct a new point system analysis for a group of applicants who were part of a 2021 filing window for an NCE FM station construction permit for a station in St. Michaels, Ariz.

Gallup Public Radio, Good News Broadcasting Network and New Hope Baptist Church submitted applications during the 2021 filing window for construction permits and were identified as part of NCE MX Group 152. The first hiccup appeared when the Gallup application was dismissed by the bureau when the community of license was listed as St. Michaels, N.M., even though there is no such community of that name in New Mexico. Gallup soon after submitted an amended application, which was accepted by the bureau. 

After reviewing the applications, and finding that none of the applicants in Group 152 claimed eligibility for a fair distribution preference, the bureau then conducted a point system analysis and identified the Gallup application as the tentative selectee. 

Soon after, a petition to deny was filed by Good News Broadcasting arguing that the Gallup application should be dismissed because it, and two subsequent amendments filed by Gallup, were signed by Rachel J. Kaub, an individual who is general manager of Gallup but is not an officer or director. Good News Broadcasting also argued that the commission’s rules only permit a dismissed applicant one corrective amendment and in this case, it argued, Gallup filed several. 

Gallup responded by clarifying that an applicant is only entitled to one reinstatement — rather than multiple amendments, as Good News Broadcasting argued. Gallup also said that Kaub, as Gallup’s general manager, was allowed to sign the application since Gallup’s own bylaws provide that the GM of their corporation has the authority to sign a document on behalf of the board of directors.

In reply, Good News Broadcasting argued against those theories, doubling down that Kaub is not an officer and therefore doesn’t have signature authority; that Gallup is only entitled to one corrective amendment, which must correct all defects; and that since its first amendment failed to correct every defect, the bureau should dismiss Gallup’s application outright.

Around the same time, a formal objection with similar language was filed against the Gallup application by Albert Alan David, who also argued that a corrective amendment must correct all application defects and that the bureau’s signature rule does not give an employee — again, Rachel J. Kaub — the authority to sign an application. 

In reviewing the petitions filed by Good News Broadcasting, the bureau agreed that an application filed by a corporation like Gallup must be signed by an officer, not an employee like Kaub. The bureau also found that since the application did not comply with the commission’s signature rules, an amendment can’t be made to correct such a mistake. As a result, the application must be dismissed. 

As a result, the bureau granted both the petition to deny by Good News Broadcasting and the informal objection filed by Albert Allen David and dismissed Gallup’s application. 

That move means Good News Broadcasting and New Hope are the two remaining applicants in Group 152, which alters the previous point system analysis. The Media Bureau has now been tasked with conducting a new point system analysis to determine a new tentative selectee for the construction permit.

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