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Timing and Topic Derail Tennessee Broadcaster’s Reconsideration Plea

WXMY can be transferred to Continental Media Group

At least two key things were not on the side of Holston Valley Broadcasting, which sought reconsideration of a decision to renew the license and transfer control of station WXMY(AM) in Saltville, Va., to Continental Media Group.

One was timing; another was the topic at hand.

In February 2016, the Media Bureau at the Federal Communications Commission granted a license renewal and transfer application of WXMY to Continental Media Group. Afterward, Holston filed an Application for Review arguing that filings from Continental “must be stricken as sham and false” for several reasons, including the allegation that Continental has not existed as a Virginia limited liability company for the requisite amount of time, that Continental failed to notify the FCC about a transfer application and that Continental’s license may have outright expired because the station was not broadcasting programming.

Yet those arguments are rendered moot, the FCC ruled in its review of the Media Bureau decision.

Here is where the argument was tripped up over timing. A specific section of the FCC rules clarifies when a party can seek reconsideration of an Application for Review that has been denied. The rules state that a request will be considered only if the petition relies on facts that relate to events that have occurred, changed or were previously unknown. In this case, Continental’s corporate status is neither a new fact nor changed circumstance, and Holston did not explain why it didn’t already raise this claim earlier, the FCC said.

Here is where the issue of raising a viable topic comes into play. The commission said that Holston’s argument that Continental’s license had expired is outside the scope of the proceeding. In this case, the focus is on whether the bureau properly granted the captioned applications, the FCC said.

In addition, the FCC said Continental did inform the commission in June 2017 that it had consummated the transfer of control. That eliminates the need for an evidentiary hearing, the FCC said.

As a result, the commission dismissed Holston’s Petition for Reconsideration.