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Tell City Waiver, Take Two

Way Media, MMTC ask agency to review FM translator denial

Way Media and the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council are asking the full commission to weigh in on the issue of how far an FM translator can be moved in one hop.

The issue is of great interest to AM owners, especially if the commission decides to open a special FM translator application window for those who own a station on the senior band.

Way Media wants to sell an FM translator now in Central City, Ky., to the Cromwell Group, which wants to move the translator to Tell City, Ind., to fill-in coverage for WTCJ(AM) in that city.

The Media Bureau had denied the waiver, saying its waiver standards hadn’t been met, and such a waiver could apply to so many owners that it really amounted to a rule change. That wouldn’t be fair to potentially competing applicants and the issue should be deferred to the AM revitalization rulemaking, according to the bureau when the agency denied the request in September.

Now, Way and the MMTC say that while the commission acknowledges AM owners need help, “nothing of use has been done to meet that need.” It’s been two years since Commissioner Ajit Pai first called for an AM revitalization effort at the commission, they note, adding the public comment period for the rulemaking closed in March.

Rulemakings are “clearly not a timely route to redress a critical situation,” say Way and MMTC, noting that granting the Tell City waiver would provide a speedy solution for many AM owners.

FCC Denies “Tell City” Waiver