FCC reaffirms five-year-old noncom deal


FCCWhen Trinity International Foundation sold WMCU-FM (now WKCP-FM) to American Public Media back in the fall of 2007, fans of the then-religious noncom were not at all happy. However, multiple challenges to the deal were turned down by the FCC, and it has now finally gotten around to answering an Application of Review dated 4/10/08. It says it did not err in approving the deal.

Among the complaints about the $20M deal which the FCC accepted for filing 10/1/07:

* The station failed to give adequate notice: It didn’t broadcast announcements, since it obtained authority to go silent for a period, but it did publish the announcement in a local paper. Petitioners challenged how local it was, but Trinity was able to prove that it was published in Miami.

* Numerous allegations that Trinity failed to properly disclose ownership were dispensed with for technical or other reasons.

* Objections to an expected format change are outside the FCC’s authority.

* Contracts were filed without all documents provided: All that are must-haves were in fact provided; others with proprietary or essentially irrelevant information were properly withheld.

At the time, the FCC appeared to acknowledge that the continued solicitation of donations at a time when the assignors knew they’d likely be selling the station was dicey, but said that the court system, not the FCC, was the proper venue to take up that particular matter.

The FCC said that the Media Bureau “…reviewed each argument of the Petitioners and found that none raised a substantial and material question of fact warranting further inquiry.” The petitioners failed, in the FCC’s opinion, to prove that the Commission erred and the decision to affirm the transaction is still in force.