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‘Hopping’ Mad: Doyle Wants Answers About Wisconsin Translator

The FCC questions Radio Power about hopping case

The commission’s Media Bureau wants answers from Radio Power Inc. about W250BN, a translator on 97.9 MHz in Wisconsin.

The translator started out in Beloit but is now in West Allis after a series of moves in the last two years. In November, Milwaukee Free Radio Group wrote to the FCC, calling Radio Power’s actions “a preconceived scheme to move a translator a distance of 69 miles from Beloit to Milwaukee, all by using minor changes so as to circumvent the requirement to wait for a window for filing a major change.” What had been a common practice, it said, has since been halted by the commission, and the moves are an abuse of the rules.

Peter Doyle, chief of the Audio Division of the Media Bureau, now has sent a strongly worded, certified letter to Radio Power in Reno, Nev.

“The Media Bureau is investigating potential statutory and rule violations and related instances of potential misrepresentation and/or lack of candor on the part of Radio Power Inc.,” he wrote. “Specifically, it is alleged that the licensee abused commission processes by effectuating a major change in the facilities of Station W250BN, now licensed to West Allis, Wis., by a succession of serial minor change applications.”

The FCC told Radio Power to answer its questions within 30 days. It wants to know if Radio Power had “a reasonable assurance” that the specified sites would be available for the intended use. It demanded a copy of all documents relating to the securing of reasonable assurance of site availability; and it wants to know the precise length of time during which the licensee broadcast from each of the facilities.

It also wants a copy of any documents relating to the station’s operation for each of the facilities, including copies of “leases, personnel records, engineering records, program logs, invoices, bills, checks written or received, credit card charges, wire transfers or deposits of funds relating to the station’s period(s) of operation.” Doyle also wants to know the primary station that was rebroadcast by the station and evidence of that primary station’s consent to be rebroadcast.

The FCC further wants to know the precise length of time during which the station was silent for more than 30 days, and why. It wants to know what community the licensee ultimately intends to serve and the primary station it intends to rebroadcast. And it wants a copy of all documents relating to the relocation of the station from Beloit.

Asked by Radio World for reaction for this story, Radio Power President Tim Martz declined to comment.

Read Doyle’s letter

Translator Hopping Defined (Sept. 2011)