FCC finds FM move from Mattoon in tune with public interest


Cromwell has asked the FCC to allow it to locate the transmitter of FM translator W263AQ Mattoon IL southward to Effingham IL, where it will be used to provide fill-in service for the radio group’s WCRA-AM which is licensed there. FCC considered Cromwell’s history of translator “hopping” in deciding on granting a waiver to make the move.

Mattoon is about 30 miles north of Effingham, and neither is part of a rated Arbitron market. The change in TL would require a major modification, but Cromwell believes the public interest can be served and the process can be made easier for everybody if the FCC simply grants the waiver.

Translator hopping, simply put, if the filing of serial minor modification moves that over time cause the translator to abandon a sparsely-populated area and slide into a more densely-populated area. The FCC found that Cromwell did not have a history of using this tactic, which is considered to be an abuse of process.

Also in Cromwell’s favor was the fact that the old and new site would still be mutually exclusive to one another, proving that the move was not being done to make room for another signal elsewhere.

The FCC also has been encouraging the use of FM translators to improve the prospects of AM stations, so it is happy to see that W263AQ will be used to further the distribution of WCRA-AM’s programming.

Finally, the move does not in any way diminish the availability of FM frequencies for low power FMs, so it does not go counter to the FCC’s effort to follow provisions of the Local Community Radio Act to further LPFM service. Cromwell’s application for a waiver was approved.