FCC remarks on applicant standing in CP award dispute


The KBOO Foundation was the eventual winner in a highly contested CP derby that gave it the right to build a new station in Chehalis WA. One of the other suitors filed in opposition based on certain technical matters. The FCC upheld KBOO’s right to build the station and explained why.

In all, 17 applicants were in the mix to earn the right to the allocation. KBOO eventually was able to strike a settlement agreement that earned it the right to the license.

However, rival contender Chehalis Valley Educational Foundation said that KBOO turned over more than 50% of its governing board, claiming that this sudden change in the lineup of individuals who would have a voice in running the station was too great, and for that reason the licenses should not be awarded to KBOO.

Generally, a change of this magnitude is considered major and should not occur during the space of a CP filing window. However, in the case of non-profit entities vying for a license over a prolonged period of time, normal attrition on a governing board can be allowed via waiver, as long as the general operational goals of the institution applying for the station remain unchanged.

KBOO said its change, involving the loss of seven members and the addition of six, was gradual in that the changes did not all occur at once.

The FCC said it disagreed – the changes were abrupt by its reckoning – it thinks in terms of ten year proceedings when looking at this type of situation, and the Chehalis situation was more in the neighborhood of four years.

Nevertheless, the FCC said a waiver in this case was in the public interest, since the goals and practices of KBOO were unchanged, and the changes in the board were incremental and according to the organization’s bylaws. It was not the kind of change that would alter the philosophy or intentions of the organization when it came to running the station.

Therefore, the CVEF petition was denied and KBOO retains the right to build the station.