The licensee of a low-powered FM radio station serving the Central Pennsylvania town of Meyersdale will not play a role in the ongoing license revocation hearing involving convicted felon Roger Wahl.
But, that’s not to say the American Militia Association (AMA) won’t have a say at a later date, based on the course of discovery and prosecution of the hearing proceeding.
Administrative Law Judge Jane Hinckley Halprin on Thursday (6/9) addressed a petition to intervene filed by the AMA, licensee of WHYU-LPFM and the holder of a construction permit for WHYU-FM. In the petition, the AMA asked that the Commission deny the upcoming license renewal of WQZS-FM 93.3 in Meyersdale, the Class A Classic Hits station owned by Wahl.
The AMA’s mid-May action immediately raised questions as to how the petition would impact the license revocation hearing, if at all. It turns out it will not — but there is a caveat.
“If, in the course of discovery and prosecution of this hearing proceeding, additional information is uncovered that indicates that AMA should be afforded party status, the Presiding Judge may consider taking that action upon appropriate motion,” Halprin declared.
That said, Halprin made it clear that the renewal of WQZS license is not at issue in the hearing proceeding. As such, AMA’s motion for summary judgment can’t be resolved as part of this matter, she said.
AMA’s petition attracted the attention of local media in Somerset County, Pa., which put a big spotlight on Wahl and what could happen for the WQZS owner. That report came two days after “Pastor Sam” Coughenour revealed on his Sunday morning religious program airing on WQZS that Wahl was gravely ill. RBR+TVBR has received unconfirmed reports that Wahl is suffering from kidney failure.
The AMA in mid-May filed a 180-page petition to deny with the Commission alleging the defectiveness of the WQZS renewal application; multiple rule and public notice violations; technical violations; and fraud against the FCC and public. This is based on the attempt by Wahl to transfer WQZS to his daughter, Wendy Sipple, for a token value of $10. The petition also addresses “potential ownership issues” involving an entity named Target Broadcasting Inc. and original partners and investors in the radio station WQZS.
Wahl had continuously reported to the FCC that he was the only person with any ownership interests in the station. As RBR+TVBR previously reported, another party emerged, suddenly claiming their original ownership stake in WQZS was falsely transferred to Wahl; this claim has not yet been independently verified.
Robert Kluver, who serves as President of the American Militia Association and director of WHYU, said the primary reason for filing the Petition to Deny “was to repair the image of broadcasters,” especially in a community “tarnished” by Roger Wahl and his actions.