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Illinois LPFM Challenged Over Signal, Facility Status

Saga Communications claims a “gross misrepresentation” has occurred

Saga Communications is crying foul over an application granted for a new low-power FM station in Springfield, Ill, saying that a “gross misrepresentation” has occurred. Saga said that despite the claims of the LPFM licensee that a transmission facility has been built and is broadcasting a test signal, no such structure or transmission exists.

Max Out Foundation recently filed an application for a license to cover a soon-to-expire construction permit for WTUZ(LP), a station to broadcast on FM Channel 272 at 102.3 MHz. In its application, Max Out said that the facility had been constructed and that was operating via the FCC’s program test authority. “But that is not true,” said Saga in its informal objection letter. Saga is licensee of WLFZ(FM), which operates on second-adjacent Channel 270.

According to Saga, one of their chief engineers visited the WTUZ site on four occasions in October, and found only a wooden light pole with an attached light, but no transmitting antenna — “much less the 16.5-meter AGL tower that was authorized by the permit,” Saga said. No signal was detected on 102.3 MHz operating in the local area, Saga said.

Saga also questioned why the license application specifies Max Out plans to use a one-bay dipole antenna when the original permit indicated that Max Out would use a two-bay OMB antenna. This two-bay antenna is the type that would afford WLFZ protection that it requires, Saga said.

The fact that Max Out certified in its application that the station was operating under automatic program test authority and that it was constructed as authorized in the original construction permit constitutes “a willful misrepresentation of facts,” Saga said.

“Rather than build the facility, Max chose to lie to the FCC and claim the facility was constructed,” rather than fail to submit an extension request prior to the permit’s expiration, Saga said.

Saga also called on the FCC to determine if Max is even qualified to be a commission licensee. It has asked the FCC to either dismiss or deny the license application.

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