- Eye on Media
Coos County had four applications for LPFM radio stations. One in Bandon, another in Coos Bay and two in Coquille including one for the Coquille School District as well as another organization called Operation Coquille (OC). The FCC dismissed the Operation Coquille application because it is in violation of § 73.807 minimum spacing rules for which the FCC states cannot be granted a curative amendment.
An engineering study has revealed that the proposed transmitter site specified in the application fails to
meet the minimum spacing requirements of 47 C.F.R. § 73.807. Specifically, the site proposed is located: 17.4 kilometers from licensed translator K285GA (BLFT-20090824AFS) on channel 285D in Gold Beach, OR. The required spacing pursuant to § 73.807 is 21 kilometers. The application fails to address this defect.
Accordingly, in light of the above, application BNPL-20 13111 4AYK is unacceptable for filing and IS HEREBY DISMISSED.
The dismissal letter dated December 13, 2013, was mailed to the home of Don Delyria who handled the application on behalf of OC just as I handled the application for the school district. As the letter makes clear, the applicant made an error in its engineering and the dismissal had absolutely nothing to do with Coquille School District’s application for an entirely different channel more than thirty clicks away on the dial. Nonetheless, last Thursday at the regular school board meeting, OC board member, Jean Ivey, claimed that the OC application had been “set aside”, she did not use the word “dismissed”, because of the district’s application and that if the district voluntarily dismissed its application, the OC application would be allowed to proceed. The board was made to believe that the district’s application was causing a “rift” in the community but that OC would happily include children in their programming and so all would be well. The board agreed to terminate its application for a LPFM radio station rather than be part of dividing the community. Unfortunately, nothing Ivey said was true.
The applications are unconnected in any way and are not transferable, had the district gone through with canceling its application Coquille would have had two dismissed applications and zero radio stations.
To provide some background, when I learned of the FCC filing window to license non-profit organizations I originally contacted Ivey to see who she thought might be interested in Coquille. She immediately offered OC as the ideal candidate to apply and board approval was obtained to proceed and I would prepare and file the application. A subsequent meeting was held that included Tim Sweeney, the district superintendent amongst others and there was some general agreement, guided by Ivey, that everyone would participate. Shortly thereafter, however, I determined that working with OC was not in my best interests and I resigned from the project and because I had my doubts about the success of a community radio station controlled by OC I brought the opportunity to the principal of my daughter’s high school, Tony Jones. During the conversation with Jones I expressed my concerns that OC could complete a successful application, (unfortunately I was correct), and pointed out that there is enough available bandwidth in Coquille that the school could also obtain a license without intruding on any other applications. After some deliberation, Sweeney and Jones decided to move forward with a district application and FCC approval is expected at any time.
As to what Ivey, who also edits and apparently still owns The Sentinel newspaper, expected to accomplish by fabricating a non-existent rift in the community and sabotaging the district’s application, she and Delyria and fellow board member Lowell Thomas are ignoring all emails requesting clarification. A broadcast professional from Common Frequency who has helped craft the FCC rules used today, Todd Urick, tried to get to the bottom of the matter emailing Ivey and Delyria as well as the attorney listed on the application, Donald Martin. Martin called Urick Friday evening saying he had no idea what OC was talking about and that Ivey’s representation to the school district board was completely false. Urick characterized Ivey’s claims as both “fraudulent” and “ludicrous”. If Ivey has a logical explanation now would be a good time to share it.
The purpose of this post is to make clear that despite assertions made by some of the board members of OC, the school district application is a good thing for the schools, the community and is in no way responsible for OC’s engineering error or its dismissal by the FCC. Neither the school district nor I am responsible for dividing the community over a radio station. OC took a gamble like every applicant and screwed up, plain and simple. According to Urick, however, OC may yet be able to salvage the application with a request for reconsideration and the help of lawyer Martin.
After being presented with the indisputable facts, school board chairman Steve Britton directed Sweeney to proceed with the application. Phew!
In other semi related news, it appears that Ivey’s deal to sell The Sentinel to Matt and Kim Hall, owners of the Myrtle Point Herald, has fallen through. Last summer, Ivey represented the sale to me as a done deal but explained she was staying on through December to help out because Kim Hall had recently given birth. Evidently, the Hall’s maintained an exit clause and this week their names are removed from the masthead.