No Stonewalling, Here: Chico Getting a New FM


In the FCC’s recent auction of new noncommercial FM radio station licenses, three mutually exclusive applications were received, each involving communities within the Chico, Calif., radio market. This resulted in the creation of “NCE MX Group 33.”

One of the three applicants filed a petition to deny. It turns out that the petition was dismissed, and their application was denied. A second applicant’s application was also denied.

The result? Stonewall Alliance of Chico holds a Construction Permit for a new noncomm FM licensed to Willows, Calif.


As a result, Vida Vale Vivir Inc. has been thwarted in its efforts to dismiss the LGBTQ+ group’s application.

Meanwhile, an application from Adventist Compassion Care Inc. was eliminated by the Commission because it did not claim a fair distribution preference.

This left Vida Vale Vivir and Stonewall Alliance, and a point system analysis was used to determine which of the two applicants should get the noncommercial FM construction permit.

Stonewall won on points, based on diversity of ownership and that it was an established local applicant in the eyes of the Commission.

With a 30-day window to accept petitions to deny, Vida Vale Vivir submitted one, arguing that SAC is not entitled to points for diversity of ownership because it failed to attach an exhibit stating that it holds no attributable interests in any nearby radio stations. Furthermore, it assailed Stonewall’s local status by calling their headquarters a “front,” based on frequent visits that yielded “an empty office appearing not to have been used for an extended period of time.”

Vida Vale Vivir also argued that Stonewall’s proposed effective radiated power (ERP) of 10kw and antenna height above average terrain (HAAT) of 176.6 meters violate the maximum limits for Class B1 FM stations and therefore violate section 73.211(b) of the Commission’s rules.

Stonewall dismissed Vida Vale Vivir’s claims, noting that it holds no attributable interests in any radio stations, and that for some two years, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, its headquarters was closed as a walk-in center. Lastly, Stonewall states a clerical error — its selection of Class B1 instead of Class B—is inconsequential and that it is permitted to amend its application.

Albert Shuldiner, the Audio Division Chief, agreed in full with Stonewall.

Thus, it has full authority to move forward, while Vida Vale Vivir’s quest for a noncomm serving Chico has concluded, at least for now.