WASHINGTON, DC — According to today’s “Broadcast Actions” list issued by the FCC’s Media Bureau, construction permit applications for dozens of new FM radio stations — including some in Central New York — have been dismissed. The applications were “mutually exclusive” (plain English: they conflicted with other applications), forcing the FCC to get into a more-detailed process to select a “winning” applicant.
On the above-mentioned list, the FCC says it officially dropped the following applications as of December 6:
- Northeast Gospel Broadcasting Inc., for a station at 89.1 FM in Old Forge.
- State University of New York, for a station at 88.5 FM in Prospect.
- Mars Hill Broadcasting Co., Inc., for a station at 89.1 FM in Boonville.
Not listed, but also being dropped, is Family Rosary Radio’s application to build a new station at 89.1 FM in Rome.
The website for the Prometheus Radio Project has a page translating FCC lingo into plain English. When it comes to mutually exclusive applications, they explain the following:
When the application you file turns out to be a “competing” application, that means that another group(s) has applied for [a station] on a frequency that’s close enough to yours to cause interference. Make sure to wear a helmet (or hire a lawyer)! This is also called “mutually exclusive” or “MX”. This is not a new form of pension fund- the FCC means by “mutually exclusive” that since both applicants cannot operate at the same time, they cannot grant both applications. The applications mutually exclude each other.
The Broadcast Actions list included in today’s FCC Daily Digest says the applications were dropped pursuant to DA 10-2072 (PDF file), which says the stations listed above are just four of “24 applications proposing service to seventeen different communities in New York and Vermont,” collectively referred to as “Group 542” by the FCC. (The other applications were for stations outside of the CNYRadio.com coverage area.)
On page 12 of DA 10-2072, dated October 28, the Commission announced it has tentatively selected Vermont Public Radio’s application for a station in Middlebury, VT as the sole application to be “accepted for filing,” as long as “there is no substantial and material question concerning” the application following a 30-day public comment period. Since that public comment window has now closed, the decision is considered final.
Earlier in the document, on page 7, the FCC explains how it whittled down the applicants in Group 542. In the first step, only two-thirds of the applicants certified they were “eligible for a fair distribution preference.” SUNY’s application for a new station in Prospect was not among them, so it was eliminated here.
Out of the remaining 16 applications, seven (all outside of CNYRadio.com’s coverage area) were automatically eliminated in a second step of the process, for failing to meet other standards.
With the pool down to 9 candidates, the FCC based its decision on the potential audience size for each application. Because the Middlebury, VT proposal “would provide new NCE service to at least 5,000 more people than each of the other proposals for different communities,” it was chosen over all the other applications.
The winning applicant says its station could reach over 46,000 people. Out of the four local stations listed above, the nearest runner-up would be Mars Hill, which told the FCC it would reach 20,000 new listeners if it received permission to build a new station in Boonville.