Sound Of Hope Strikes Out Again In Chi-Town Fight

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There’s a little less hope for Chicago-based Sound of Hope Radio of getting a low-power FM signal of its own in the Windy City.


That’s because the FCC on Monday (6/12) dismissed a Reconsideration Petition from Sound of Hope that contends the Commission goofed in an Order that put to rest the hopeful operator’s Application for Review of the Media Bureau’s authorization of another Chicago LPFM.

As RBR+TVBR reported on Dec. 17, 2016, Chicago is getting a low-power FM station at 99.1 MHz.

The signal will operate under a time-share agreement with two entities — African American-focused Urbanmedia One and Morton College.

But, Sound of Hope Radio sought to get involved and in September 2014 the FCC determined that the three applicants were equally qualified. It  provided 90 days to negotiate and submit a time-share agreement and/or to eliminate their mutual exclusivity by major amendments to their technical proposals.

In December 2014, Urbanmedia One and Morton College UM filed a time-share agreement that allowed them to aggregate their comparative points to make their combined proposals comparatively superior to that of SOH alone.

Accordingly, the FCC’s Media Bureau granted construction permits to UM, for WJPC-LP and to Morton, WZQC-LP.

It dismissed the SOH application, so it filed a major site change amendment to its application on Dec. 8, 2014, to eliminate its conflict with UM’s WJPC-LP and become a “singleton.” The Media Bureau reinstated and granted the SOH application on January 14, 2015, assigning it the call sign WQEG-LP.

This then led SOH to submit an Application for Review (AFR) with the FCC, maintaining that the grant of the UM application should be rescinded, the time-share hours granted to UM should be reverted to pre-grant status, and the Commission should provide an opportunity for SOH and Morton to negotiate and file a new time-share agreement.

The AFR was dismissed, with the FCC ruling that SOH “lacks the requisite standing to seek review of the Bureau’s actions.”

Once the Commission has dismissed an Application for Review, it will entertain a petition for reconsideration only upon a showing of new facts or changed circumstances. Thus, the Commission said, SOH’s contention that standing is a new matter which it could not have addressed previously “is meritless and forms no basis for reconsideration.”

The Commission further notes that SOH “had the opportunity—indeed, the obligation—to demonstrate standing earlier in this proceeding, but was silent on the issue.”

 


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