Can Three Parties Control One LPFM Station?


A new low-power FM station is set to debut in Chicago, at 99.1 MHz.

The signal will operate under a time-share agreement with two entities — African American-focused Urbanmedia One and Morton College.

But, a third party sought to get involved — Sound of Hope Radio — and in September 2014 the FCC determined that the three applicants were equally qualified and provided 90 days to negotiate and submit a time-share agreement and/or to eliminate their mutual exclusivity by major amendments to their technical proposals.

In December 2014, Urbanmedia One and Morton College UM filed a time-share agreement that allowed them to aggregate their comparative points to make their combined proposals comparatively superior to that of SOH alone.

Accordingly, the FCC’s Media Bureau granted construction permits to UM, for WJPC-LP and to Morton, WZQC-LP.

It dismissed the SOH application, so it filed a major site change amendment to its application on Dec. 8, 2014, to eliminate its conflict with UM’s WJPC-LP and become a “singleton.” The Media Bureau reinstated and granted the SOH application on January 14, 2015, assigning it the call sign WQEG-LP.

This then led SOH to submit an Application for Review (AFR) with the FCC, maintaining that the grant of the UM application should be rescinded, the time-share hours granted to UM should be reverted to pre-grant status, and the Commission should provide an opportunity for SOH and Morton to negotiate and file a new time-share agreement.

The AFR was dismissed, with the FCC ruling that SOH “lacks the requisite standing to seek review of the Bureau’s actions.”