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Guel-related CP Gets Nixed by FCC

Application was dismissed after Costa Mesa Hispanic Community Radio fails to respond to letter of inquiry

One long-running dispute has been given a final stamp by the Federal Communication Commission when the FCC dismissed a long-awaited construction permit application from Costa Mesa Hispanic Community Radio.

After the company applied for a CP for a new low-power FM station in 2013 in Costa Mesa, Calif., its application was met with a quick objection from REC Networks, the LPFM advocacy group.

REC said this application was not truly local and not filed by a local organization — but instead was instigated on behalf of a much larger organization with many other holdings. REC Networks pointed to Antonio Cesar Guel, president and CEO of Hispanic Christian Community Network, who was listed as the technical contact for the Costa Mesa application. REC has noted that previous Guel-related applications were questionable in nature and violated the spirit of the Local Community Radio Act.

In March of this year, the Media Bureau issued a Letter of Inquiry (LOT) to Costa Mesa requesting information to confirm several facts in its application, including documentation concerning its board of directors and its headquarters; a narrative explaining what parties completed the application and subsequent amendments; and a confirmation that certifications made in the application were accurate.

Some of these issues were raised as a concern by REC in objections it submitted to the FCC.

Costa Mesa did not respond to the letter of inquiry, and so the Costa Mesa application was formally dismissed by the commission.

“[The] dismissal is a small victory in the community’s efforts to promote integrity in the LPFM licensing process,” REC Networks said.

REC also recently posted information on its website about another Guel-related application. In its submission, REC points to an affidavit submitted to the commission that reveals that South Miami Hispanic Community Radio, which was applying for a CP for an LPFM in Miami, was not created by the individual named on the application but was created by Guel.

“REC feels that it is now time to investigate [other Guel-related applications] to assure that they were appropriately granted and if not, then the construction permits need to be rescinded or cancelled and, if any licenses were issued, designate for hearing for revocation,” REC said on its statement. “We will likely find that the original parties on those original applicants never existed in the first place, and that false statements were also made regarding addresses.

“It is time to finally stop this abuse of LPFM and bring integrity back to the service,” REC said.