The clock has run out for ill-fated AM station wannabe WKAJ-AM. The current licensee bought the CP back in 2010 and received an 18-month extension on the construction deadline at that time. A series of misfortunes, one of them going by the name Hurricane Irene, impacted the project, but in the end, the FCC decided that not only is the CP a matter for the history books, the licensee must light and paint the tower to the extent it has been constructed until it can be dismantled.
The station was to serve the Utica-Rome market from the town of Little Falls NY. It had successfully filed an application to switch its city of license to Saint Johnsville NY to get around one of the hurdles the ill-fated CP encountered – loss of its original transmitter site – but the project was never quite brought to completion.
Cranesville Block Company acquired the CP for a Class B on 1120 kHz with 1.5 kw-D, 250 w-N, DAN in a deal filed 2/5/10 and consummated 4/15/10. Seller Michael Celenza collected $11K in that transaction, and Cranesville picked up 18 extra months to build out the CP, to 10/15/11.
Flooding and tornadoes associated with Hurricane Irene in late August prevented work on the station, and the FCC bumped the CP forward two more months to 12/15/11.
However, as of 1/5/12, FCC engineering staff was in the dark as to the status of the CP. Cranesville said that the project was nearing completion when a contractor abruptly pulled out – causing the 12/15/11 deadline to be missed.
The FCC noted that the permit ceased to exist as of that date as a matter of course, without any action whatsoever on the FCC’s part. Cranesville had filed a petition to reverse the decision to delete the station, and the FCC remarked that since there was in fact no decision, the petition was procedurally deficient.
However, it treated the petition as a petition for relief seeking reinstatement of the CP. It then stated that such a request faces a very high hurdle and that Cranesville failed to clear it. It noted that the licensee did not broach the subject when the 12/15/11 deadline became unattainable, but over a month later. It added that it appeared that much of the construction worked seemed to have been accomplished after the permit had expired and the station ceased to exist, without any communications with the FCC seeking another extension – which constitutes unauthorized construction, and which is frowned upon just as is unauthorized operation is.
And finally, to add further expense to injury, the FCC said, “To the extent that CBC has partially constructed, it is imperative to the safety of air navigation that any prescribed painting and illumination of the station’s towers be maintained until they are dismantled.”