United States

The FCC has upheld the cancellation of International Aerospace Solution’s 590 KTHO and 96.1 K241BK South Lake Tahoe CA following an application for review.

The licenses were deleted in November 2021 after failing to respond to multiple FCC inquiries that they were Silent or operating with unauthorized facilities. FCC Field Office personnel and public complaints noted that KTHO went silent in December 2019 after its transmission equipment was deemed abandoned and seized by the tower owner due to nonpayment of rent. The translator was however, noted as being on the air from an unauthorized location originating programming as KTHO was off the air.

In December 2021, IAS admitted it had not been operating the stations from their licensed site but were running from the house of the station’s engineer. They argued that because the owner of the station had Parkinson’s Disease that affected his ability to execute certain tasks including to respond to the Bureau’s inquiries, would assign the licenses to the engineer who was a minority, were affected by the loss of site and advertising revenue due to COVID, loss of the stations would be anti-competitive, they provided safety information responsive to the area’s unique geography, weather, and wildfires, and operating from the unauthorized site did not cause interference and conferred a public benefit by providing local news, weather, and emergency information.

The media bureau dismissed that petition because it relied on arguments it could have timely raised. In the application for review, IAS stated that the bureau should have viewed those new matters merely as delayed responses to its letter of inquiry and not as untimely submissions on reconsideration. The agency responded to the review stating the procedural dismissal of IAS’ reconsideration request was correct as its rules specifically prohibit submission of new facts on reconsideration confirming that KTHO and K241BK expired as a matter of law due to the stations’ extended lack of authorized operations and not as a result of the failure by IAS to respond timely to the LOI and even had IAS presented them in a timely manner as a response to the LOI, it would not have supported reinstatement of the Stations’ licenses.

Lance Venta, RadioInsight (2023-02-19)