FCC allows translator sale to proceed over objection


An application to transfer the license of W244BC Ocala FL from Radio Training Network to Generations Broadcasting Corporation was hit with a petition to deny, an objection from an individual who claimed the station was impermissibly silent for over a year, and who also wanted to by the station.

The petition came from William Johnson. He said the station was silent when he was in Ocala during weekly trips from 10/1/09 and 11/30/10, and also between 12/1/10 and 12/15/10. For that reason, he said the station must turn in its license and cease to exist.

He also said that RTN sold the station to GBC despite his offer to buy it, and offer that was valued higher than what GBC paid.

The FCC used a footnote to remark on the logical inconsistency of deleting the station while at the same time allowing it to be sold to Johnson, noting that it was not explained by the petitioner.

At any rate, RTN refuted with charge of impermissible silence with a sworn affidavits from RTN president James Campbell and the stations chief engineer, who also supplied detailed power measurements from the station log.

The FCC said Johnson’s intermittent finding that the station was silent was insufficient and was strongly rebutted by RTN.

On the sale, the deal with GBC was for $25K. Johnson says his offer of $50K was turned down, and said this happened because he is a minority and GBC is not.

By way of explanation, RTN was able to provide an email memorializing a handshake agreement with GBC to sell for $25K dated 9/20/10. Johnson’s offer didn’t come until 10/11/10 according to his own testimony.
The FCC said that RTN was justified in believing it had to honor its earlier agreement, even though a better offer materialized, if for no other reason than to avoid a possible lawsuit for a breach with GBC. FCC noted that if there is a contractual dispute, the courts are the venue to use, not the Commission.

Furthermore, Johnson did not offer to buy the station outright – he offered to LMA the station for $1.2K per month with an option to buy at $50K. The FCC stated that this is no substitute for an offer to buy the station. Further, Johnson offered no evidence to support there was any racial motivation of any kind in RTN’s decision to sell to GBC.

Both of Johnson’s objections were dismissed and the sale was allowed to proceed.