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Q&A: Why Has Rome’s WRUY Been Silent Since May?

CNYRadio.com reader Mark Fuller recently wrote to ask, “Does anyone know whats happening with Rome, NY’s 1450 AM?”  He observes the station has “been silent for months,” specifically since May, when Tune In Broadcasting purchased the station from Bible Broadcasting Network.  Fuller asks, “what’s the sense of buying radio stations only to leave them silent?”

The answer is buried in FCC paperwork which is available online, but unless you’re a legal expert, it might take some poking around to find the right documents.  We did just that, eventually finding the explanation for the long silence of WRUY (formerly WYFY) 1450.

On May 19, 2011, Ron Frisch of Tune In Broadcasting. LLC filed a “Notification of Suspension of Operations / Request for Silent STA” (special temporary authority) with the FCC.  That form is required anytime a station is expected to remain silent for more than 30 days.  The form claims “technical” reason for going silent, which Frisch explained in further detail in an exhibit attached to the form:

TUNE IN BROADCASTING, LLC, ACQUIRED WRUY ON MAY 6, 2011. THE LICENSEE HEREBY NOTIFIES THE COMMISSION THAT THE STATION IS SILENT AND REQUESTS AUTHORIZATION TO REMAIN SILENT WHILE IT SEARCHES FOR A NEW STUDIO LOCATION AND COMPLETES CONSTRUCTION. THE PRIOR LICENSEE OPERATED ON A NON-COMMERCIAL BASIS, HAD A MAIN STUDIO WAIVER, AND THEREFORE, HAD NO MAIN STUDIO IN THE ROME, NEW YORK, AREA. AN APPLICATION TO CONVERT WRUY BACK TO COMMERCIAL STATUS HAS BEEN GRANTED (BML-20110405ABW). ACCORDINGLY, WRUY REQUIRES A MAIN STUDIO.

The FCC responded on July 18, 2011 with a letter to Frisch’s Post Office box in Santa Clarita, CA, informing him that the STA request has been granted for WRUY “to remain silent for a period not to exceed 180 days from the date of this letter.”  Do the math and that deadline is Saturday, January 14, 2012.

While the letter says another extension should be requested if WRUY will not be ready to resume operations by January 14, it also emphasized that “the broadcast license for WRUY(AM) will automatically expire as a matter of law if broadcast operations do not commence by 12:01 am., May 7, 2012.”  That would be one year after Tune In Broadcasting closed on the purchase of the station from Bible Broadcasting Network.

A “contract to sell and purchase real estate” submitted to the FCC as part of the sale process shows that the purchase includes a little more than 12 acres of land at the corner of Muck Road and South Jay Streets in Rome, which includes a 9-foot by 11-foot transmitter building — but “specifically excluding any transmitting towers, [and] any satellite dishes located thereon.”

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