Feb 25 2020

WASHINGTON, DC—It appears four St. Louis-area AM radio stations may be defunct, following an FCC administrative law judge’s decision to dismiss the stations’ license renewal applications. 

Womble Bond Dickinson telecom attorney John Garziglia in a new column for Radio Ink addresses the question of whether others may file FCC applications for the AM licenses. John states that while the chances for the filing of FCC applications to replace the stations themselves may be uncertain, the FCC’s decision in the long-running proceeding represents a potential opportunity for other AM radio stations to upgrade their operations.   

“Section 73.3571(h) of the Commission’s rules restricts the filing of new AM applications to announced filing windows. The last such AM filing window was in 2004,” Garziglia said. 

If the technical facilities of any of the four non-renewed AM stations are restricting other AM stations from an expansion of coverage, it is possible that existing AM stations could take advantage. Then, when a new AM filing window does open, the potential coverage of a newly-filed application for one or more of the defunct AM station facilities could be severely restricted, or eliminated completely, as a result of modifications to other AM stations.

John Garziglia

“There is no timing restriction, however, on existing AM stations filing for modifications of facilities. Therefore, if the technical facilities of any of the four non-renewed AM stations are restricting other AM stations from an expansion of coverage, it is possible that existing AM stations could take advantage. Then, when a new AM filing window does open, the potential coverage of a newly-filed application for one or more of the defunct AM station facilities could be severely restricted, or eliminated completely, as a result of modifications to other AM stations,” he said.

The FCC decision to dismiss the license renewal requests follows two years of administrative hearings into who exactly controls the stations. The FCC considered allegations that convicted felon and notorious radio personality Robert Romanik, the self-described “Grim Reaper of Radio” actually controlled the stations, rather than the listed licensee, but ultimately dismissed the applications because the licensee failed to abide by the judge’s order to appear at the hearing to prosecute its license renewals.   

Click here to read “Are Four St. Louis-Area AM Stations Dead?” by John Garziglia in Radio Ink.

Also click here to read “Is it Live or is it Prerecorded? John Garziglia Discusses FCC Recorded Programming Disclosure Rules with Radio Ink”.

John Garziglia represents radio and television broadcasters, offering personalized assistance in all areas of communications and telecommunications law including transactional and contract negotiations for broadcast station mergers and acquisitions, the securing of financing, governmental auctions of new frequencies, license renewals, new stations applications, facility changes, facility upgrades, licensing, and compliance with FCC rules, regulations and policies.