FLAIM claim extinguished by FCC


The Finger Lakes Alliance for Independent Media had to do more than let its fingers do the walking to stop a deal between Citadel Broadcasting and Saga Communications in Ithaca NY. FLAIM tried to stop the sale of WKRT-AM and WIII-FM despite the fact that it comported with local market ownership caps because it believed some of the stations listed in Ithaca by Arbitron did not really belong there. The fact that they were not in the local Yellow Pages was one piece of evidence.

The group had already tried to stop a previous deal, however, and did not object to the Citadel deal because it thought the FCC would apply the brakes before proceeding.

Citadel and Saga won the dispute on grounds that FLAIM’s objection was untimely. The FCC said that when FLAIM sat on the sidelines biding its time “sitting back,” the FCC called it, the group ran the risk that the pending ruling would be unfavorable. It should have filed against the second according to the rules. However, FLAIM would likely have failed anyway – the FCC said it produced “…no relevant facts that bear on the public interest.”