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FCC Denies AFR By Puerto Rico Public Broadcasting Corporation

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Released: April 23, 2014

Federal Communications Commission

FCC 14-52

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of
)
)

Puerto Rico Public Broadcasting Corp.
)


)
Application for a Permit to Construct a New
)
File No. BNPED-20071022DXS
Noncommercial Educational FM Station
)
Facility ID No. 123286
at Mayaguez, Puerto Rico
)
MX Group No. 221

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Adopted: April 23, 2014

Released: April 23, 2014

By the Commission:
1.
The Commission has before it for consideration an Application for Review filed on May
19, 2011 by Puerto Rico Public Broadcasting Corporation (“PRPBC”), concerning dismissal of its
October 22, 2007 application for a permit to construct a new noncommercial educational (“NCE”) FM
station at Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. PRPBC seeks review of an April 19, 2011 decision letter by the Media
Bureau, Audio Division (the “Bureau”)1 which found that the proposed station would violate the
Commission’s rules by causing interference to an existing NCE-FM broadcast station.2 The Letter denied
PRPBC’s request for a waiver of section 73.509 of the Commission’s Rules despite PRPBC’s prediction
that the area’s rugged terrain would limit the number of people receiving interference to fewer than 4,000
and PRPBC’s showing that the affected broadcaster was willing to accept the interference. The Bureau
reasoned that although grant of such waiver requests might seem appealing when viewed individually,
they can cause substantial damage when combined with numerous similar waivers over time. The Bureau
noted that, in particular, while a single waiver grant might provide new service to many while causing
interference to a few, the cumulative impact of multiple such waivers would be a serious degradation of
existing FM reception quality throughout the entire portion of the FM band reserved for NCE service.3
Accordingly, the Bureau dismissed the application. On review, PRPBC contends that the Bureau’s
reasoning was flawed because PRPBC presents circumstances that are “so unique” that any waiver
granted to PRPBC would not establish precedent for similar waivers to others.4 Specifically, PRPBC
argues that it is an “instrumentality” of the government of Puerto Rico with a statutory mission to assess
and attend to Puerto Rico’s population as a whole, and is located on an especially rugged island with
difficult signal propagation characteristics.
2.
With respect to PRPBC’s offering its mission and its relationship with the government as
potential grounds for a waiver, PRPBC did not make this argument in its original waiver request and the

1 See Puerto Rico Public Broadcasting, Letter, Ref. No. 1800B3 (MB Apr. 19, 2011) (“Letter”). The Bureau
independently dismissed two mutually exclusive applications after denying their similar waiver requests. PRPBC,
as the only applicant to seek reconsideration and review, is the sole remaining applicant in the group.
2 See 47 C.F.R. § 73.509 (specifying contour protection standards for NCE-FM applications).
3 Letter at 2-3.
4 Application for Review at 3-6.

Federal Communications Commission

FCC 14-52

Bureau therefore had no opportunity to address it in that context.5 Similarly, PRPBC failed to raise before
the Bureau any of the precedent that it now cites in its Application for Review.6 Accordingly, we will
dismiss this portion of PRPBC’s Application for Review.7 Upon consideration of the remaining portion
of the Application for Review and the entire record, we conclude that PRPBC has failed to demonstrate
that the Bureau erred. The Bureau properly decided the matters raised, and we uphold its decision for the
reasons stated in its Letter.
3.
ACCORDINGLY, IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to section 5(c)(5) of the
Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. § 155(c)(5), and section 1.115(g) of the
Commission’s rules, 47 C.F.R. § 1.115(g), the Application for Review IS DISMISSED IN PART and
DENIED IN PART.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Marlene H. Dortch
Secretary

5 To the extent that PRPBC provided information in its application about its relationship with the government or its
mission, it did so specifically to demonstrate its eligibility to hold an NCE authorization. See File No. BNPED-
20071022DXS, Exhibit 3, (Eligibility/Organizational Documents). In contrast, in the application, PRPBC stated
that the “details” of its waiver request were contained in its Comprehensive Technical Exhibit (Exhibit 17 to the
application). That technical waiver showing found at pages 4-6 of that Exhibit, makes no reference to these
additional grounds for waiver.
6 Application for Review at 4-5. This precedent includes an unreported 1996 Mass Media Bureau decision that was
cited by each of the two mutually exclusive applicants in support of their requests for similar waivers that were
denied by the Bureau. Family Educational Association, Inc. (File No. BNPED-20071019AJT) and Hispanic
Broadcast System Puerto Rico, Inc. (File No. BNPED-20071022ALK).
7 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.115(c) (“No application for review will be granted if it relies on questions of fact or law upon
which the designated authority has been afforded no opportunity to pass.”). BDPCS, Inc. v. FCC, 351 F.3d 1177,
1184 (D.C. Cir. 2003).
2

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