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WCFL Asks FCC to Shut Down Chicago Translator

Interference alleged from FM signal associated with Polnet’s WRDZ

Conflicts between broadcasters over reported interference from translator operations continue to surface.

WCFL, a contemporary Christian FM in Morris, Ill., licensed to the parent of the Illinois Bible Institute and broadcasting in the Chicago area, claims that its 104.7 MHz signal has been subjected to co-channel interference from translator W284DA. The translator is operated by Polnet Communications Ltd. of Chicago.

W284DA is used to retransmit the signal of co-owned AM station WRDZ in La Grange, Ill. It operates with 50 watts ERP using a directional antenna to protect WCFL. A permit has been issued to Polnet to modify the translator operation for 99 watts ERP with a slightly different directional pattern.

But WCFL claims that Polnet’s current operation is failing to protect their signal, and have gathered numerous declarations from listeners attesting to interference over a widespread geographic area. In a complaint filed with the Federal Communications Commission, it asked that Polnet’s W284DA translator be ordered to suspend operations immediately. The complaint cites FCC regulations that define translators as secondary broadcast services and prohibit their operation if they interfere with full power radio stations.

Polnet owns five Chicago-area AM radio stations, in addition to two stations in New York state and an AM station and translator in Florida. In the beginning of 2016, the company purchased several Chicago-area translators in order to simulcast its AM signals on FM.

Neither party replied to Radio World’s queries.