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Smile FM Gets Its CP in Mount Forest, Mich.

A competing applicant had hoped to serve Midland

Michigan-based Christian network Smile FM will be able to build a noncom educational FM station in Mount Forest, Mich.

The FCC Media Bureau’s Audio Division has denied a petition from Midland Seventh-day Adventist Church, which wanted a station in Midland. The FCC originally picked Smile FM from among four mutually exclusive applicants including Midland Seventh-day in 2008. (The commission applied comparative selection criteria to a dozen groups of mutually exclusive NCE FM applications then, picking a winner in each).

Of four MX applications, only Smile claimed that it was eligible for a “fair distribution preference,” which gave it the edge.

But after the FCC announced its decision, Midland said Mount Forest was not really a “licensable community” and that Smile’s proposed directional antenna exceeds radiation pattern limits.

Smile FM answered that Mount Forest is a community with defined borders, a significant population and a local government, fire department and school. It also said its proposed DA does not violate the rules because the Section 73.316(b) restriction only applies when short-spaced stations are involved.

The Audio Division has accepted Smile’s arguments and granted the CP.

It also said Smile had filed an engineering amendment in October of 2009 that modified its directional antenna proposal and eliminated any potential issue. It said it did so because WTWS(FM) had completed a city-of-license change to Houghton Lake, Mich., and so Smile no longer needed to protect the old facility.