Saga Seeks FCC Squash Of A LPFM ‘Cluster’


With all of 21 watts of power at 748 feet, an LPFM serving a college town some 75 miles to the northwest of Richmond and a two-hour car ride from Washington, D.C., is using the legal identifier of a long-gone radio station that once served as Howard Stern’s FM home in New York to bring “Rock Hits” to the market.

Thanks to terrain, this baby radio station offering familiar songs from such artists as 3 Doors Down and Portugal. The Man reaches all of the 209th-largest market in the U.S., as do three other LPFMs; a fifth LPFM covers tiny Ruckersville, Va., 22 minutes up Seminole Trail.

The quintet of LPFMs, in many ways, sound like commercially licensed stations. For Saga Communications, the operator of four FMs and two AMs, each with FM translators, in this market — Charlottesville, Va. — they are acting too much like commercially licensed stations, too.

In fact, Saga says the LPFMs “are operating illegally,” and has asked the FCC to nix the LPFMs’ license renewals.

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