FCC Rejects AFA Challenge To Noncomm FM Grants
July 11, 2013 at 1:23 PM (PT)
The FCC's Media Bureau has rejected the AMERICAN FAMILY ASSOCIATION's Petitions for Reconsideration of grants of new noncommercial educational FMs in PERRY, IA (to IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, now operating as KICG) and SPOKANE, WA (to SPOKANE PUBLIC RADIO, now operating as KPBZ) over AFA's applications for PERRY, IA and RATHBUN, ID, respectively, based on the Commission’s broadcast attribution rules in the comparative hearing point system.
The AFA contended that if its ownership or equity/debt holding of overlapping signals would block it from accruing ownership diversity points, applicants who receive funding from the CORPORATION FOR PUBLIC BROADCASTING or pay dues and purchase programming from NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO should receive the same attributable treatment.
Rejecting the AFA's arguments, the Bureau wrote, "Neither CPB nor NPR holds either equity or debt interests in any broadcast station, and thus, their relationships to applicants and licensees fall outside the scope of the rule. The Commission’s attribution standards do not 'ignore' CPB and NPR because they have no religious mission, but rather because these organizations have not exerted a level of influence sufficient to trigger attribution for any funder or programmer. Contrary to AFA’s portrayal of the NCE rulemaking proceeding and the single sentence therein, the Commission did not decide to incorporate the EDP standard into the NCE attribution standards to bring about some alleged comparative benefit for CPB-funded “secular” applicants.... With respect to AFA’s overall argument however, that NPR and CPB control and are real parties in interest behind the applications of all public broadcasting applicants nationwide, we find that claim unsubstantiated."