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Texas FM Wins Another Round

BMP Austin gets its minor mod despite protest from Cameron Broadcasting

Texas station KTXX(FM) can upgrade its FM facilities despite a protest from another broadcaster, the latest round in a dispute between two licensees.

The staff of the Federal Communications Commission will allow BMP Austin License Co. to upgrade KTXX (which had been KXBT until last fall).

Two years ago, BMP asked to relocate the station from Dripping Springs to Bee Cave, Texas. This was the only local station in Dripping Springs, though, which normally would have prevented the move; FCC rules discourage removal in such circumstances because “a vacant allotment is not an adequate substitute for the removal of a community’s only operating radio station.” But at the time, Educational Media Foundation also held a CP in the market, which has since gone on the air.

Meanwhile, Cameron Broadcasting wanted to change community of license for its KMIL(FM) from Cameron, Texas, to Thrall, Texas, a request that was eventually dismissed. It objected to the proposal by BMP to move to Bee Cave, calling it an illegal “backfill” proposal. The Media Bureau rejected that argument and allowed the move.

Cameron appealed; the FCC rejected that; Cameron appealed again, which remains pending. Cameron also has argued that BMP engaged in “gamesmanship” by filing a defective application that effectively blocked consideration of subsequent applications under the FCC’s “first-come/first-served” approach to requests to change FM community of license.

Later, BMP asked permission to reduce the ERP of KTXX, increase HAAT and change directional pattern. Cameron said it should not be allowed while its appeal was pending; the FCC allowed the modification. Then late last year, BMP filed for another increase in height and more changes in its directional pattern.

Cameron has complained that “submission of further proposed modifications to a construction permit which itself remains under challenge … may not be the best use of commission resources at this time,” and it asked the Media Bureau to withhold action.

The staff now has rejected this latest argument, finding no basis for withholding action on the application.