Beasley Files Complaint Against LPFM For Being Too Competitive
August 6, 2015 at 3:59 AM (PT)
BEASLEY MEDIA GROUP has filed a complaint against a low power FM in the TAMPA area, complaining that the station's programming is too commercial-style and competes with one of its full-power stations.
The filing alleges that HISPANIC ARTS OF TAMPA low-power WVVF-LP (VIVA FM)/TOWN 'N' COUNTRY, FL is not being "used for the advancement of an educational program" as required by LPFM rules, instead sporting a "Latin Adult Hits" or "Adult Tropical" format with professionally produced imaging and promotional material that BEASLEY complains targets its own Spanish Hits WYUU (92.5 MAXIMA FM)/TAMPA.
The result, BEASLEY contends, is an "attempt to create the sound and presence of a competitive commercial operation, rather than a locally focused community-oriented broadcaster." BEASLEY says its employees are monitoring the station and have found that "the station is not providing the educational programming promised by HISPANIC ARTS, including live poetry and short stories, daily educational cultural programs, local news and weather, daily community calendar, a local history show, and political/civic participation programs."
BEASLEY is asking that the FCC "suspend operational authority" for WVVU until that station complies with the rules and its representations in its application. The Commission typically does not get involved with programming decisions.
LOW POWER FM ADVOCACY GROUP Exec. Dir. DAVE SOLOMON wrote an open letter to BEASLEY about the filing, writing that as a fan of BEASLEY's operations and "almost as a friend," the filing has "baffled" "an entire room of attorneys" wondering if management even knows the document was filed. "There is, obviously, no case when a full power multi-million dollar corporation like yourself, should ever be in the situation where it is attacking a penniless LPFM due to fear of competition. Not only is it horrible promotion for the BEASLEY BROADCASTING programming department, it sets a dangerous precedent that any American citizen can pursue. Filing frivolous informal objections when there are sour grapes. Everyone, even bitter LPFMs who were filed against, can play that game. For the sake of the integrity of the process, your immediate withdrawal of this objection in warranted. We hope you agree."