FCC filing regarding a petition to freeze translator applications - 3/9/2005

On March 9, 2005, the Prometheus Radio Project and other concerned organizations filed for an immediate freeze on pending FM translator applications.  This was in response to the discovery by those parties that certain people had unjustly and possibly illegally applied for thousands of permits with the intent of illegally trafficking them.  Because of the debilitating effect this would have on LPFM radio, PRP further requested an investigation into those actions.

Download our complete comments at  FCC filing regarding a petition to freeze applications pending investigation

SUMMARY Using evidence developed by Rec Networks from the Commission’s own database and from publically available sources, Prometheus Radio, et al. have discovered evidence of a massive trafficking scheme in violation of the Communications Act and longstanding Commission policy. Three individuals, Clarke Parrish, Earl Williamson, and Diana Atkin, used two dummy corporations – Radio Assist Ministry, Inc. and Edgewater Broadcasting, Inc. – to apply for thousands of translator licenses in the March 2003 Translator Window, AUC-03-83-A. The Applicants have used a third dummy company, World Radio Link, Inc., to aggressively market the naked construction permits.

As the Commission has long recognized, allowing the sale of naked construction permits in the broadcast services is contrary to the public interest and corrupts the integrity of the Commission’s processes. The harm to the public is particularly onerous here, because these translator licenses come at the expense of future low power FM stations. As the Commission has repeatedly observed, the LPFM community provides unique local programming and public service that furthers the Commission’s interest in promoting localism. That spaces potentially available for future LPFM licenses should instead go to speculators unjustly enriched at the public expense is outrageous.

Because every translator construction permit granted both furthers the unjust enrichment and deprives the public of a potential LPFM licensee, the Commission should impose an immediate freeze on all applications related to the Translator Window. Furthermore, because the actions here violate the explicit anti-trafficking rules and rules against unjust enrichment in Section 309(j) of the Communications Act, which governed the allocation in the Translator Window, the Commission should conduct a through investigation into the adequacy of the anti-trafficking rules appliable to Auction No. 83 and what actions it will take to prevent further trafficking. Finally, that Parrish, Williamson and Atkins sought to hide their conduct from the Commission raising the concern that the permits were obtained by fraudulent means, and the Commission should consider whether to revoke of the permits pursuant to or other relevant provisions of the Communications Act and the Commission’s rules. See, e.g., Section 303(m)(1)(F) (revocation for licenses obtained by fraudulent means). Even without active intent to defraud the Commission, the Commission has in the past found that an application for a construction permit with no intent to provide service constitutes a misrepresentation warranting revocation. .....

Download our complete comments at  FCC filing regarding a petition to freeze applications pending investigation