A Mega-Sized Win For Another Philly-Area Translator


On June 8, 2018, the Media Bureau of the FCC — in a “Letter Decision” — dismissed and denied an informal objection of the Commission’s OK of an FM translator in Camden, N.J., awarded to the licensee of an AM radio station serving the Philadelphia area’s Latino community.

A Petition for Reconsideration was filed by perhaps the one organization that has proved to be the biggest foil in the quest for AMs seeking “revitalization” through the use of a 250-watt FM facility — Prometheus Radio Project.

The decision being handed now to Prometheus by Audio Division Chief Al Shuldiner is hardly a surprise.

Shuldiner dismissed Prometheus’ Petition for Reconsideration, as were similar requests from Center for International Media Action and Common Frequency  — comrades in the quest to protect and proliferate low-power FM radio stations.

At issue is W239DS — which seemingly is authorized for 95.7 MHz, although Class B Beasley Media Group-owned Adult Hits WBEN-FM is licensed for broadcast on this frequency. Rather, the frequency at issue is 106.5 MHz, home to WPPM-LPFM in Philadelphia. WPPM is a 90-watt facility, and has a city-grade signal at present over Camden, just across the Delaware River from Center City.

WPPM is billed as “PhillyCAM,” and is a community-focused operation offering media training, among other things.

The crux of the argument is whether the Camden application “did not ensure filing opportunities for low-power FM stations, pursuant to Section 5 of the Local Community Radio Act of 2010.”

This is Prometheus’ argument as presented in the informal objection, which the Media Bureau dismissed “for failing to allege properly supported facts that, if true, would establish a substantial and material question of fact that grant of the application would be inconsistent with the public interest.”

Yet, the limited spectrum in the Philadelphia DMA is a legitimate concern, and a potential move of WPPM to the northwest “could be impeded” if a co-channel translator signs on the air.

The FCC says no, as W239DS — for use by Mega-Philadelphia LLC to rebroadcast Class B WEMG-AM 1310 — is in line with all of the procedures established in Auction 100, in which Mega-Philadelphia obtained the yet-to-be constructed translator.

Prometheus discussed spectrum-preservation measures adopted in Auction 83, comparing them to Auction 99 and Auction 100. The arguments presented were rejected by Shuldiner.

The initial objection to this translator was a part of a massive 994 objections filed by Prometheus, Common Frequency and the CIMA, all of which were tossed.