ITHACA — Pending FCC approval of two applications filed late last week, Progressive Talk 1470 WNYY could be expanding to the FM band. FCC documents show WNYY owner Saga Communications is ready to pay $60,000 to take over a construction permit for a new translator at 97.7FM. Once construction is complete, the translator will simulcast WNYY.
The CP for translator W249CD was initially issued in October to Cavalry Chapel of the Finger Lakes, Inc., who told the FCC it would use the translator to simulcast programming from 99.7 WZXV out of Palmyra. Two applications seeking permission to alter the original construction permit were filed with the FCC on December 21, and the agency said both were “accepted for filing” on December 26.
The first application, filed by Cavalry Chapel, requests the Commission’s permission to transfer the construction permit to Saga. A sales contract attached to this application revealed the $60,000 purchase price.
The second application, filed by Saga and contigent on the sale being approved, shows that W249CD would be used to simulcast WNYY. It also shows that Saga would build the transmitter at a different location than Cavalry Chapel’s original plans.
The “accepted for filing” status generally means the FCC has reviewed the applications, and has no immediate objections to the requests. Assuming there are no valid concerns brought forth during a customary public comment period, the Commission will likely approve both requests.
In addition to its usual lineup of progressive talk hosts like Bill Press and Stephanie Miller, WNYY also started carrying Buffalo Bills football this season. The construction permit for W249CD was issued this past October, and as is the case with all construction permits, there’s a three-year deadline to get the station built and on the air.
The idea of using an FM translator to simulcast an AM station is nothing new at the Cayuga Radio Group, where WNYY sister station News/Talk 870 WHCU can also be heard at 95.9FM thanks to translator W249CD. The company also uses FM translators to supplement the coverage of rocker I-100 (WIII) and Q-Country (WQNY) in the hilly terrain surrounding Ithaca.
And the cluster was among the first in the nation to use FM translators to simulcast programming that originated from HD Radio digital subchannels. Although CHR-formatted Hits 103.3 (W277BS) and triple-A 98.7 The Vine (W254BF) use their translators’ frequencies in their brand names, the FCC says translators cannot originate programming; they can only simulcast other stations. To comply with that requirement, these stations technically simulcast programming from the HD Radio subchannels of Lite Rock 97.3 (WYXL). “Hits” originates from WYXL-HD2, while “The Vine” originates from WYXL-HD3.