FCC Enforcement Bureau Wants ALJ To End WQZS Hearing


The fate of a Somerset County, Pa., convicted felon in the midst of a self-defended license revocation hearing conducted by the FCC’s Administrative Law Judge, could be closer to revelation.

That’s because the licensee of WQZS-FM 93.3 in Meyersdale, Pa., Roger Wahl, has been fingered by the Commission’s Enforcement Bureau for failing to fully participate in the hearing.

It’s something ALJ Jane Hinckley Halprin has warned Wahl about, and how she responds to the Bureau’s Motion could spell the end of the Class A FM serving a rural portion of the Keystone State.

The Enforcement Bureau on May 31 filed a Motion to Dismiss for failure to participate and a hearing waiver that, alternatively, serves as a motion to compel a response to the Bureau’s outstanding discovery requests.

In short, Wahl’s responses thus far haven’t been up to snuff. And, as he has opted to serve as his own legal counsel, this could prove to be the last battle he has with the ALJ.

On May 11, a second document request was sent to Wahl’s attention by the Bureau. A complete response was due by May 23. Wahl didn’t reply. “This is only the latest example of Mr. Wahl’s failure to respond to the Bureau’s discovery requests and otherwise participate in this proceeding,” said Loyaan A. Egal, Acting Chief of the Enforcement Bureau. Egal then cited Wahl’s “continued lack of responsiveness and repeated failures to provide substantive and complete responses to the Bureau’s continued attempts at discovery,” along with “his apparent disregard for the Commission’s rules,” including procedural deadlines, as amounting to a waiver of the hearing.

“As a result, the Acting Chief, Enforcement Bureau, through his attorneys, respectfully contends that the Commission’s rules and precedent compel the dismissal of this proceeding and revocation of Mr. Wahl’s license,” Egal concluded.

This could very well happen soon, as Halprin on April 29 warned Wahl that “dates and deadlines established throughout the course of this proceeding are not suggestions.”

Meanwhile, Egal provided Halprin with a timeline dated to November 2021 of Wahl’s “complete lack of participation” in the proceeding.

While Wahl has seemingly not fully complied with the ALJ’s requests, as the Enforcement Bureau sees it, one supporter has taken to the WQZS airwaves to defend him — and seek absolving for Wahl’s sins.

Sam Coughenour, known as “Pastor Sam” to WQZS listeners and parishioners of Abundant Life Christian Center, has repeatedly spoke out in favor of Wahl — albeit indirectly, referring to him as “The Commander,” on his Sunday morning “Camp Meeting.” It has aired at no cost to Coughenour on WQZS, with the 7-9am slot given to him by Wahl.

On March 29, “Pastor Sam” noted how “The Commander” — Wahl — “has gone through a living hell these past couple of years … he has some real enemies.”

Coughenour went on to note how Wahl said to him, “I don’t like what they’re doing, but I don’t hate them.”

This led Coughenour to quote scripture in noting “there is good in everybody … but I have to work on being the wonderful, nice guy that I am,” seemingly quoting Wahl. An audio recording of WQZS taken while in-car reflects reception issues due to the mountainous terrain southeast of Meyersdale, Pa., above Cumberland, Md.

As RBR+TVBR has extensively reported, Wahl’s conviction is linked to lurid tales of voyeurism, and finding men to engage in unwanted sexual activities with a local woman. Wahl admitted to much of these actions in a FCC response submitted in late May.