After more than eight years of waiting, Red Wolf Broadcasting Corp. has won the OK to put up a new FM translator on 99.5 MHz in New London, Conn., over the objections of Greater Boston, Cox and what was then Citadel. The case demonstrates the hoops opponents must jump through to convince the FCC that a translator will cause harmful interference.
Red Wolf filed its application during an FM translator window in 2003. The other broadcasters then told the commission that the proposed translator would cause substantial interference. Greater Media worried aboutwhat was then called WKLB(FM), Lowell, Mass. (The station is now WCRB and has been through two subsequent changes of ownership.) Cox felt the translator would interfere with second-adjacent WPLR(FM), New Haven. Citadel cited harm to first-adjacent WSKO(FM) in Wakefield-Peacedale, R.I., now WEAN.
Red Wolf countered those arguments and added that Citadel was abusing the process to delay action on the application.
Challenges to such applications face a pretty high bar. As the FCC noted in its ruling, opponents must provide names and addresses of each potentially affected listener; show that these addresses fall within the 60 dBμ service contour of the translator; provide a declaration from the listeners that they listen to the full-service station at the specified location; and give evidence that the authorization will result in interference at that location.
The FCC found fault with the documentation from each of the three groups. Greater Boston gave emails from listeners but the ZIP codes were not within the contour. The Cox station did not provide verifiable information from listeners within the contour. Citadel gave names and addresses of three listeners but the FCC booted those too, finding one to be unreliable, the second from the mother-in-law of the PD of a station that competes with Red Wolf and the third from a listener who had since dropped the station because it changed format.
The commission also found fault with Citadel’s engineering methodology to support its claim that WSKO had listeners within the contour.
The FCC denied the informal objections and granted the CP for a translator that was originally applied for in 2003. “We find that neither Greater Boston, Cox nor Citadel [now part of Cumulus] has raised a substantial and material question of fact calling for further inquiry regarding whether grant of the application will further the public interest, convenience and necessity,” wrote Peter Doyle, chief of the FCC Media Bureau’s Audio Division. He added a note that, should the translator cause interference to any of the stations, it would be required to eliminate the interference or go off the air.