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LPFM in Tennessee Can Stay Where It Is

Media Bureau staff rejects Bay-Pointe’s objection

The FCC staff has given a low-power station in Tennessee a written slap on the wrist but otherwise rejected a request from another broadcaster to overturn approval of its recent move.

The station is WRFN(LP) in Pasquo, Tenn., licensed to Radio Free Nashville. At issue was the paperwork involved after the organization relocated facilities in 2008; it had a CP but it was several weeks late in filing the required “covering” license application at the end of the process.

The rules state that any CP for which construction has not been completed and for which an application for license has not been filed shall be automatically forfeited upon expiration.

Bay-Pointe Broadcasting Inc. had filed an informal objection to the covering application on the same day that the FCC staff granted it, unaware of the objection. Bay-Pointe then asked the commission to reconsider, saying the FCC had acted prematurely.

The Media Bureau now has ruled that it should have considered Bay-Pointe’s objection but even though the covering application was filed late, its approval was consistent with precedent. “In several previous instances, the Media Bureau has granted license applications filed after the permit expiration date, provided that the permittee has demonstrated timely construction in accordance with the terms of the permit,” it stated. In this case, the station told the staff prior to filing the application that it had inadvertently failed to promptly file a covering license. Also, construction had been completed long before the construction permit expired.

Thus the FCC staff admonished Radio Free Nashville for its late-filed application but waived the rule and denied Bay-Pointe’s request to dismiss the application.