Photo: Announcer Marc Lemay reads the FCC announcement in the Edwin V. Johnson Newsroom.
WHAV Plans Legal Challenge to ‘Time Sharing’ Competitor
WASHINGTON—The Federal Communications Commission late Friday afternoon tentatively selected WHAV to receive an FM license.
Public Media of New England Inc., parent of WHAV, is seeking to broadcast at 98.1 FM, while a competitor seeks an adjacent frequency. Both received the same number of qualification points under FCC rules. The selection means both groups must share airtime, but provides a month for legal challenges.
“WHAV plans to challenge the application by St. Patrick Parish Lawrence Educational Radio Association on grounds the Catholic group does not qualify for all of the technical points it claims,” said Tim Coco, WHAV president and general manager. “WHAV is proposing a minimum of 56 hours per week of locally originated programs, while St. Patrick’s has listed 100 percent of its programming as originating with Irondale, Alabama-based Global Catholic Radio Network,” he added.
The FCC’s ranking system grants bonus points to applicants proposing local programs.
In addition, St. Patrick’s filed its application for Articles of Organization with Massachusetts’ Secretary of the Commonwealth on Nov. 12, 2013. The incorporation articles as submitted to the FCC had not yet been approved by the Commonwealth. The secretary of the Commonwealth approved WHAV’s Articles of Organization April 11, 2011. The FCC highly weights the incorporation dates. According to the FCC, “applicant(s) may claim an established local presence if this Local Eligibility has existed for at least two years prior to its application.” The 2013 incorporation papers contradict St. Patrick Parish Lawrence Educational Radio Association’s cited date of Jan. 1, 1950 as qualifying as local.
Although the FCC does not rank the abilities of this class of FM stations to serve their cities of license, the proposed Haverhill tower of St. Patrick Parish Lawrence Educational Radio Association will result in a signal barely listenable in Lawrence, the applicant’s claimed city of license.
David J. Doherty of Skywaves Consulting Inc., Millbury, provides engineering services for WHAV, while Howard M. Liberman and Lee G. Petro of Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, Washington, provides legal representation.