Full Armor Ministries has failed in its appeal to win back an AM license in Minnesota that was terminated by the FCC after a paperwork snafu. This decision also appears to kill the city of Virginia’s plans to buy that station, which has been off the air for five years.
The Audio Division of the Media Bureau terminated Full Armor’s authority to operate WEEP(AM) in 2006; it now has denied a petition for reconsideration from the organization and city.
The station lost the license after failing to apply for renewal at the proper time, by Dec. 1, 2004. But the story is more complicated. The transmitter had failed in 2002 and Full Armor did not have the money to return it to the air, it said later. The city then agreed to buy the station but the sale was held up by a freeze on assignment applications. Later, when the freeze was lifted, the owner failed to file the appropriate assignment application. And by the time the renewal application was due, Full Armor and the city explained, “the station was off the air and the ownership of the license was in flux. … [Full Armor] was not aware that under these unique circumstances it was required to file an application for license renewal.”
The organizations also asked the FCC to waive the rule requiring a license to expire if a station is silent for 12 months.
The owner said “fairness and equity would be served” by reinstatement of the license so that it could be assigned to the city. But the FCC staff ruled that the owner didn’t make the case. It noted that the station has been silent for more than five years and that the city of Virginia is also served by an FM station.