One would think that by now they would have filed an Objection to the Petitions To Deny like KPOJ (Citicasters aka Clear Channel) did. That's what "legal departments" do. Today's massive rescind action will make this news in the blurbs (Radio World, All Access, etc).
The link for the petition apparently has expired or something, so here is the text:
Before the Federal Communications Commission Washington, D.C. 20554
K247AQ KDJC K203DY K201DV K202DT K219CL K258AR K216EH KJCH K271AR K212AK K273AJ K207DQ K205DM K202EH K213CF KQDL KPIJ K246BB K220II K296BS K276EO K201DH K220IN K288FT K291BL KKJA K238AL K214CM K290BK K280BK K206EU K205EG
PETITION TO DENY
This Petition to Deny is being submitted to deny Calvary Chapel of Twin Falls (“CALVARY”) renewal of licenses that serve the Oregon on the grounds of (1) its neglect of coverage of any community issues, (2) its abuse of the main studio waiver rules, and (3) redundant and abused translator service. Petitioner is a party of interest as an Oregon residence.
The licenses for CALVARY’s Oreon stations should be denied renewal or at least denied main studio waivers upon renewal. The facilities do not serve the Oregonians with any matters specific to the local communities while additionally preventing the use of LPFM channels for local community use.
CALVARY’s facilities have abused their non-commercial educational status, neglecting to cover issues pertinent to the community. It is also believed that full power stations have abused their main studio waiver usage, and translators are considered redundant coverage at times.
II. CALVARY Stations Devoid of Localism And Coverage of Issues of Importance.
CALVARY has 444 licensed stations and 310 pending applications across the United States.1 It has studio-waived stations in major cities, but it is unclear that it is providing any programming in terms of local public service to any of it’s satellite station communities.
We are unsure how it is able to broadcast to a national audience (The United States) using one main studio—with redundant signals and services in some cities—yet
1 Source: FCC database
serve the local public interest are the same time. CALVARY has applied the rules once utilized for a state-wide network to build one of the largest radio network in the United States, chiefly using free NCE licenses. According to the criteria used to grant these waivers, the FCC is allowing CALVARY to license an automated radio station network because it recognizes “financial difficulties” (as quoted in an FCC waiver request) that CALVARY has in raising the necessary funds to expand to reach all corners of the United States. If this is the true assumption, we intuitively realize that the granting of each additional studio waiver works against the localism, with each additional satellite community meaning one less local NCE channel. More importantly, we realize the basis for studio waivers has outlived its usefulness in a world where there is high demand for educational organizations desiring to start local stations to serve their communities.
Most cities are devoid of even one full power community radio station to service the full spectrum of cultures, ages, music, and community affairs programming, while CALVARY enjoys redundant services in many cities. There is a total of 32 Oregon channels carry programming from rural Twin Falls, Idaho with no local studio. The programming on CALVARY stations merely play music, provide biased editorials, promote calls to action, and contains local no public affairs coverage tackling any local issues of importance. The FCC states that radio stations must address “must air programming that is responsive to the needs and problems of its local community of license” and “...each station licensee must affirmatively identify those needs and problems and then specifically treat those local matters that it deems to be significant in the news, public affairs, political and other programming that it airs.”2 We assert 32 radio channels is plainly redundant in spreading a narrow music format, delving into no local
2 The FCC’s “The Public and Broadcasting”, Revised July 2008, Prepared by the FCC Media Bureau.
public affairs or political programming responsive to the needs and problems of its local community of licenses.
It is generally difficult for a member of the public to prove a station is not serving in the “public interest” because the FCC has not published any criteria for use as a litmus test for proper community service when alleging complaints pursuant to Section 309(d). It would be helpful if the Commission could reveal what exactly constitutes a licensee not serving a local community. In other words, we are requesting the FCC define “serving in the public interest” by describing the qualities of a station that does not serve in the public interest prior to responding to whether CALVARY’s stations serve in the public interest with regards to coverage of “issues”. If there is no definite answer to this question, the idea of public service is undefined. If the answer to this includes a minimal service obligation that can be addressed chiefly with automation, without any local-specific programming—or if there is no difference between national, regional, and local programmed stations—the terms localism and local studio are meaningless. In Georgia State Board of Education, the Commission states that “the obligation of each broadcast licensee, commercial and noncommercial alike, is and always has been to serve the problems, need and interests of the communities which it is licensed” regardless of what kind of programming distribution (local station or network) the licensee has developed.3 The FCC indicated that it grants stations with disregard to whether an organization considered itself a state network with a regional emphasis. We could then make the assumption that both studio waived stations, and local stations with studios, need to serve the community of license equally regardless of main studio location, program origination location, or organizational structure.
3 Georgia State Board of Education, WVAN-TV license renewal 70 FCC 2d 948 (1979).
Due to the proliferation of main studio waivers in local, is “localism” a file cabinet labeled “public file”, and a studio staffed merely to take phone calls and mail public file documents? Is it a fulfillment of certain programming requirement? We ask the FCC to also address this issue in general and in relation to CALVARY to understand local public service requirements.
III. Abuse of the Main Studio Waiver.
The Commission grants waivers “only granted if shown the local community would be served”.4 The licensee only needs to comment upon how the licensee could serve the community, but the Commission never validates if this is put into practice. The Commission says waivers are “valid and will remain in effect as long as the stations continue to operate under the terms of the waiver”5, yet (1) the Commission never performs any audit on a regular basis to see if the if the terms of the waiver were implemented, (2) the terms of the waiver are dictated by the applicant, not by standard regulation upholding the public interest, (3) no reports or validation that the promises in the waiver are continuously heeded by the licensee. In other words, the licensee is not held accountable to serve the local public interest. The terms the licensee may give to serve the studio-waived community may contain no obligation whatsoever of the broadcaster to actually run any amount of programming to serve the community. For example, the only programming stipulation in a waiver recently approved for KWRC, Hermosa, South Dakota, a satellite of KAWZ of Twin Falls, Idaho is for Calvary Church of Twin Falls (“CCTF”) to “provide programming responsive to the interests of Hermosa, South Dakota, and the other areas served by Station KWRC”6. Although they say they would become familiar and review matters of concern with the community, there is no
4 See 3 FCC Rcd 5027. 5 Ibid. 6 CCTF Main Studio Request for KWRC, December 12, 2007.
enforceable rule or degree to which how thoroughly this is done, and the is no legal obligation to address any of these local concerns using even one second of airtime. If any member of the public wanted to challenge a studio-waived station for not serving the local public interest, there currently is no concrete definition of what “not serving the community” entails, or multiple cases from history that exemplify the conditions. We believe that during a license renewal period, the Commission must review the terms stipulated by the licensee regarding the applicant’s program service to the local community. It is devoid of any news and public affairs programming that tackles pertinent issues within out local communities. For this reason alone, the translators and full power stations should all not be renewed.
CALVARY does not qualify under terms of the NCE waiver concerning “limited funding”: FCC asserts that NCE radio stations by nature have “limited funding”7; this lumps all NCE licensees into the same boat. The FCC is claiming that any entity with an educational program that does not exist to make profit will have financial difficultly in maintaining additional studios. CALVARY has millions in revenue that it obtains through its national network from a couple studios in Twin Falls. It does not have “limited funding” so it does not meet the terms of the main studio waiver. The Commission occasionally cites that it recognizes “the ongoing problems of educational licensees in raising the necessary funds to expand and provide noncommercial educational programming to as many viewers [or listeners] as possible”8. CALVARY does not have this problem, and can afford local main studio. Due to this issue, CALVARY should be able to afford staffing local studios and the main studio waiver should not apply to them.
7 A standard explanation for the Commission granting a waiver request; example: Letter to Todd M. Stansbury, Esq., Re KGAC (FM), Saint Peter, MN (October 16, 1998), Letter to Jeffrey D. Southmayd, Esq., Re: Moody Bible Institute of Chicago (December 10, 2002), etc. 8 The Cederville College 6 FCC Rcd 538 (1991).
IV. Translator Rebroadcast Abuse.
The FCC defines the original intent of the creation of a translator service as to “provide supplementary service to areas in which direct reception of radio service is unsatisfactory due to distance or intervening terrain barriers (e.g., a mountain)”.9 Over the years certain parties have utilized loopholes to transform translator service into a device to build regional and national radio networks of behemoth proportions. Others have applied for translators for speculative purposes. At the heart of the issue, translator service has begun to utilize many channels in urban areas, taking channels that could be used for LPFM service. The paradigm unfolding is the opposite of what translator service was originally intended for: Rural and network stations are extending service into major metropolitan areas. It is believed that 27 Oregon translators run via a satellite feed is excessive. We would like the Commission to justify why five full power studio-waived stations and 27 translators fed from rural Twin Falls to the Oregon is in the public interest, validating those facilities license renewals.
Due to the pertinent facts presented above, we believe there is ample evidence that CALVARY does not serve in the local public interest with the utilization of these radio non-commercial, education radio channels. In addition, its abuse of the local main studio should at least result in revocation of their usage not only in Oregon, but across the country.
9 From What Is An FM Translator or FM Booster Station? located at http://www.fcc.gov/mb/audio/translator.html
Respectfully Submitted By
Colin Innes, Portland, Oregon 97211
Posted on February 4, 2014 - 03:11 PM