KBOO Gets Its NCE in Chehalis, Wash.

Commission rejects appeal from another applicant
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The application for a new noncom educational FM station at 89.7 MHz in Chehalis, Wash., has been granted to the KBOO Foundation.

The FCC issued its decision over the objections of the Chehalis Valley Educational Foundation.

KBOO and CVEF had filed applications in the 2007 NCE FM filing window. At issue was a major subsequent change in KBOO’s governing board. Such changes generally are prohibited in these cases because the commission wants to ensure that the applicant maintains its “organizational characteristics” while they evaluate the application.

But KBOO won an exception from the FCC. Chehalis Valley Educational Foundation then challenged that exception, saying KBOO’s board turnover hadn’t meet the precedent suggested by an earlier ruling.

KBOO replied that its board turnover was gradual and routine, and did not alter the nature of the organization. The FCC disagreed with that, yet it said special circumstances and good cause still merited a waiver in this case.

“We find that KBOO has proven that at no one time since the application’s filing have board changes disrupted continuity of organizational operations because they occurred incrementally over time and in accordance with its bylaws,” it wrote. “We agree that these types of changes do not alter the nature of the organization or break continuity of control. In the licensee context, we have acknowledged such changes to be gradual as long as they do not occur at once or as a result of a dramatic coup.”

The FCC cited other reasons as well; it noted that in a settlement agreement, KBOO’s application procedurally is now a “singleton” that would not preclude grant of another application in the MX Group. And it rejected CVEF’s arguments that KBOO’s paperwork had been defective on several counts.

The details and language of this ruling will be of interest to NCE applicants who wonder about how a change in their governing boards might affect them.

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