FCC dismisses more Cesar Guel LPFM applications
So far as of this writing, the FCC has dismissed applications that were filed by Antonio Cesar Guel for new LPFM stations in San Antonio, Jacksonville, Lufkin TX, Columbia SC, Lake Charles LA and McAllen TX.
These dismissals were as a result of the Commission investigating the addresses that these applicants claimed as their headquarters. In these cases, the Commission used public records to determine the property owners (which were mainly churches) and these property owners verified that these organizations were never headquarted at these locations. As a result, the Commission determined that the applicant did not meet the requirements of §73.853(b)(1). Since the same addresses were used for the board members, these addresses were dismissed for the purpose of establishing 75% of the organization's board members are local in accordance with §73.853(b)(2). Since the localism requirements were not met, the applicant is not qualified to be an LPFM licensee and thus, the application was dimissed.
Today's decisions did bring two issues to light:
First, where it comes to qualifications of localism such as the board members or the headquarters, if the original application is flawed, it can not be corrected by amendment. The applicants in these cases made statements to the FCC via the application that they were headquartered at these churches. It turns out to not be the case.
Second and most importantly, this decision hammers down the fact that on LPFM applications, those who are mentioned as parties to the application must disclose their residential addresses. This is important in LPFM because there is a localism requirement where at least 75% of the board members must reside within 10 miles (20 miles outside media markets 1 through 50) of the LPFM transmitting antenna if there is no headquarters or campus within 10 or 20 miles.
REC applauds the FCC's efforts to finish up the processing of LPFM applications. In addition to 79 Cesar Guel applications, the FCC is still working on MX groups in Los Angeles and San Francisco as well as a couple of additional pending objections. REC feels that before another LPFM filing window is opened, we need to strenghten the localism rules and application process for LPFM stations. While there is no sign on the horizon for another LPFM window, REC would like to see another window open up in 2018 or 2019 and only after the Commission conducts a rulemaking proceeding on REC's RM-11749 which proposes an upgrade of many LPFM stations to 250 watts and enacts other improvements to the LPFM service that are consistent with the statutory requirements of the Local Community Radio Act.