FCC Creates Another LPFM Loophole, Courts to Consider a Third

Right at about the same time the FCC granted special temporary authority to a pirate station in Nevada to operate without a license, the agency told a group of irate listeners in Texas that they, too, could have a station if they wanted to.

How? Some 263 of them wrote letters to the FCC requesting it deny the transfer of KTPB-FM’s license from a community college to the Educational Media Foundation. The well-known godcaster will flip the station’s format from classical to one of its “alternative” offerings.

Seemingly impressed by the outpouring of support for classical music, thought the FCC denied the listeners’ objections to the license transfer it entertained the option of them applying for an LPFM station license in order to “fill any programming void left by the sale of the station to EMF and change in format that EMF may make.” Read More

God Squads Fall From Grace

Thanks to curious loopholes in the FCC’s FM licensing rules, several religious broadcast companies have created national networks on the cheap using low-power, mostly-automated FM transmitters. Using their intimate familiarity with FCC bureaucracy, these companies also engage in spectrum hoarding and speculation.

The practice of spectrum speculation is nothing new, it’s a kind of side-industry in the broadcast business. Although they very seldom actually build a radio station, speculators apply for and acquire radio station construction permits and then sell them to the highest bidder. Channel spaces on the FM dial are a finite commodity – where supply is low and demand high a savvy speculator can make quite a bit of money if they have permits to build radio stations in growing markets. Read More

Religious Broadcast Executive: Good Work If You Can Get It

Someone who calls themselves “a former employee” of the Educational Media Foundation (corporate parent of the K-LOVE and AIR-1 radio networks) sent along some interesting information about the salaries of the heads of various religious broadcasting institutions.

The original message lamented the fact that EMF Broadcasting’s president, Dick Jenkins, pulls down somewhere between $250-280,000 per year, apparently the highest in his peer group. Other chief executive numbers offered for comparison (can’t vouch for their accuracy, they were reportedly pulled from charitynavigator.org): Read More

LPFM Roundup

There’s been a change of leadership within the Amherst Alliance. Don Schellhardt has left the post of president after several years of hard but not futile work, for which he deserves a boatload of thanks. The new Amherst honcho is Stacie Trescott.

REC Networks is again on the ball with “a special message for listeners of K-Love and Air-1” about Educational Media Foundation’s misguided anti-LPFM public comment crusade.

Finally, Mediageek’s got some prognostications on the shape and form of the FCC under the second coming of Bush II. It’s agreeably cynical.

Translator Networks Mobilize Listeners

While rooting around in the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System today to examine recent submissions to a proceeding in the agency’s Localism Task Force effort, I made a typo. Instead of searching for filings under the FCC docket number 04-433 (the magic number to file/find comments filed on broadcast localism), I mistyped and got the results for FCC# 04-223, which deals with a pending change to the FCC’s regulation of junk faxes.

Many listeners to the Educational Media Foundation‘s two christian music radio networks, K-LOVE and AIR1, are butterfingers like me. In 04-223 there are ~30 new filings from this week alone. They’re all from K-LOVE/AIR-1 listeners moved to support the networks – networks who are apparently afraid of an expansion of true local LPFM and can’t get enough of translators.

They’re all only a paragraph or two and full of interesting talking points: Read More