KTIA-FM, Boone, Iowa
Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554December 20, 2013
DA 13-2437In Reply Refer to:
Released: December 20, 2013
James P. Riley, Esq.
Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth, PLC
1300 N. 17th Street, 11th Floor
Arlington, VA 22209
Gary S. Smithwick, Esq.
Smithwick & Belendiuk, P.C.
5028 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W. – Suite 301
Washington, DC 20016
In Re: KTIA-FM, Boone, Iowa
Facility ID No. 6417
File No: BPH-20121113AMW
We have before us a minor change application, as amended (the “Application”),1 filed by
Truth Broadcasting Corp. (“Truth Broadcasting”), licensee of Station KTIA-FM, Boone, Iowa.
We also have before us a pleading styled as a Petition for Reconsideration (the “Petition”) filed
by Truth Broadcasting on July 8, 2013, as well as various related pleadings.2 The Petition seeks
review of a staff letter, notifying Truth Broadcasting of deficiencies in the Application and
providing an opportunity to file a curative amendment.3 For the reasons discussed below, we
dismiss the Petition as a petition for reconsideration, consider the Petition and related pleadings
as responses to the Deficiency Letter, grant the Objection to the extent indicated herein, and
dismiss the Application.
Background.The Application proposes to modify the license of Station KTIA-FM from
Channel 257A at Boone, Iowa, to Channel 257A at Huxley, Iowa, and to relocate the station’s
1 See File No. BPH-20121113AMW.
2 These pleadings include: (1) an Opposition to Petition for Reconsideration filed on July 23, 2013, by Saga
Communications, Inc. (“Saga”) (the “Opposition”); (2) a Consent Motion for Extension of Time filed on
July 26, 2013, by Truth Broadcasting; and (3) a Reply to Opposition to Petition for Reconsideration filed
on August 19, 2013, by Truth Broadcasting. We also have before us one remaining issue from an Informal
Objection to the Application (the “Objection”) that was filed by Saga on February 19, 2013, and was
mostly disposed of earlier in this proceeding.
3 Letter to James P. Riley, Esq., and Gary S. Smithwick, Esq., (MB Jun. 6, 2013) (“Deficiency Letter”).
transmitter site pursuant to Section 73.3573(g) of the Commission’s Rules.4 To facilitate this
proposal, the Application requests, and we issued, an Order to Show Cause to the licensee of
Station KPUL(FM), Winterset, Iowa, for an involuntary channel change from Channel 258A to
Channel 269A.5 In support of its Application, Truth Broadcasting contends that (1) the
reallotment would result in a preferential arrangement of allotments under the FM Allotment
Priorities as a first local service at Huxley (population 3,317) (Priority 3) is preferred over the
retention of a fourth local service at Boone (population 12,661) (Priority 4);6 (2) the proposal
should not be considered as a “move-in” to either the Des Moines or Ames, Iowa, urbanized areas
under Rural Radio because there are no existing towers in the area from which Station KTIA-FM
could be modified to cover 50 percent or more of these urbanized areas;7 and (3) the station
relocation would provide a net gain of service to 247,399 persons.8 Accordingly, Truth
Broadcasting urges grant of its Application.
On February 19, 2013, Saga, licensee of six radio stations in the Des Moines market, filed the
Objection.9 The Objection argued that (1) the proposal should be subject to the rebuttable
presumption and treated as a move-in to the Ames or Des Moines urbanized areas because Saga
has identified two towers, Antenna Structure Registration (“ASR”) #1235167 and ASR #1207229,
from which KTIA-FM could serve Huxley and, at the same time, place a city-grade signal over 50
percent of either the Ames or the Des Moines Urbanized Area;10 and (2) in the absence of a
rebuttal to the presumption, the Application would not result in a preferential arrangement of
allotments as the retention of a fourth local service at Boone under Priority (4) should be preferred
over the addition of a 17th local service to the Des Moines urbanized area or a 6th local service to
the Ames urbanized area under Priority (4). Accordingly, Saga requested that the Application be
4 See 47 C.F.R. § 73.3573(g) (permitting an FM station to change its community of license without
providing an opportunity for competing expressions of interest provided, inter alia, the reallotment would
result in a preferential arrangement of allotments).
5 See Letter to Positive Impact Media, Inc., Ref. 1800B3-EP, (MB, Jan. 8, 2013) (“OSC”).
6 See File No. BPH-20121113AMW, Attachment 36, Section 307(b) Legal Exhibit at 2.
7 See File No. BPH-20121113AMW, Attachment 36, Section 307(b) Engineering Exhibit at 2, citing
Policies to Promote Rural Radio Service and to Streamline Allotment and Assignment Procedures, Second
Report and Order, First Order On Reconsideration, and Second Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making,
26 FCC Rcd 2556, 2567 (2011) (subsequent history omitted) (“Rural Radio”) (establishing a rebuttable
presumption “that, when the community proposed is located in an urbanized area or could through a minor
modification application, cover 50 percent of an urbanized area, we will treat the application, for Section
307(b) purposes as proposing service to the entire urbanized area rather than the named community of
8 Specifically, Truth Broadcasting alleges that there would be a gain of service to 281,477 persons and a
loss of service to 34,078 persons, and the entire loss area and population would continue to receive at least
ten services. See File No. BPH-20121113AMW, Attachment 36, Section 307(b) Engineering Exhibit at 3-
9 Truth Broadcasting filed an Opposition to Informal Objection on March 18, 2013, and Saga filed a Reply
to Opposition to Informal Objection on April 17, 2013.
10 See Saga’s Informal Objection at 4-5.
In the Deficiency Letter, we found that neither of the towers identified by Saga could be used
to provide 70 dBu coverage to 50 percent or more of the Ames or Des Moines urbanized areas and
at the same time provide a city grade signal to Huxley.11 However, our staff engineering analysis
identified an additional site that would meet both of these criteria.12 Accordingly, we denied the
Objection in part and provided a 30-day period for Truth Broadcasting to amend its Section 307(b)
showing by rebutting the urbanized area service presumption.13
In its Petition, Truth Broadcasting contends that the Deficiency Letter should be reviewed and
reversed because the staff erred in determining that KTIA-FM could operate as Class C3 facility.
Truth Broadcasting contends that there is no theoretical Class C3 allotment site14 that fully
complies with the spacing requirements of Sections 73.20715 and the city grade coverage
requirement of 73.315.16 In the absence of such a site, Truth Broadcasting claims that KTIA-FM
could not be modified to provide a city-grade signal over 50 percent of the Des Moines urbanized
area and thus the urbanized area service presumption does not apply to the Application.
Accordingly, Truth Broadcasting concludes that no amendment is needed and the Application
should be granted.
In its Opposition, Saga alleges that (1) the Petition should be dismissed without reaching the
merits because it is an impermissible request for reconsideration of an interlocutory action under
Section 1.106(a); (2) the Application should be dismissed for failure to prosecute under Section
73.3568 for failure to respond to the Deficiency Letter; and (3) in the alternative, if the
Commission grants the Application, it should impose special operating conditions to require Truth
Broadcasting to maintain KTIA-FM as a Huxley station.17
In its Reply, Truth Broadcasting argues that the Commission should (1) consider the merits of
the Petition regardless of any procedural flaws as the public interest is better served by processing
11 We explained that Saga’s argument about ASR #1235167 is dependent upon the use of an alternative
propagation methodology, Longley-Rice, and, under established Commission policy, an objector cannot
rely upon an alternative propagation methodology to rebut an applicant’s showing that uses the standard
prediction method. See Deficiency Letter at 3. Likewise, we found that the use of ASR #1207229 was not
feasible because it requires relocating other tower appurtenances. Id.
12 In particular, the staff engineering analysis determined that at ASR #1017090, a directional antenna
operating as a Class C3 facility would provide a 70 dBu signal over 50 percent of the Des Moines
urbanized area. See id.
13 The second issue raised by the Objection was not ripe for consideration in the Deficiency Letter but will
be addressed infra at 5-6.
14 See Truth Broadcasting’s Petition for Reconsideration, Statement of William J. Getz.
15 See 47 C.F.R. § 73.207.
16 See 47 C.F.R. § 73.315. See also 47 C.F.R. § 73.203, Note (requiring fully spaced allotment site without
resort to contour protection provisions of Section 73.215).
17 Saga suggests that (1) no future application for modification of KTIA-FM’s facilities be entertained
unless the facilities specified in the construction permit for ASR #1265420 are first constructed and
licensed; and (2) KTIA-FM cannot move to another site that would provide a city-grade signal over 50
percent or more of the Ames or Des Moines urbanized areas, using the standard prediction method, until
February 1, 2021, the end of its current license term. See Saga’s Opposition at 8.
the Application based upon accurate information rather than requiring an unnecessary amendment;
(2) not dismiss the Application for failure to prosecute because Truth Broadcasting is actively
prosecuting its Application by filing the Petition; and (3) not impose Saga’s two requested
conditions because it would lack bargaining power to secure commercially reasonable lease terms
if it was limited to a single tower location and because the conditions are unreasonably broad and
long-lasting. However, in the interest of resolving this case, Truth Broadcasting states that it
would be willing to accept a less restrictive condition.18 Accordingly, Truth Broadcasting requests
the grant of its Application.
Discussion.Procedure. As a threshold matter, we address three procedural issues. First,
Section 1.106(a) generally prohibits petitions for reconsideration of interlocutory orders.19 The
Deficiency Letter is an interlocutory order because it did not deny or grant the application.
Consequently, the Deficiency Letter is not subject to reconsideration at this stage, and we will
dismiss the Petition as a petition for reconsideration. However, in this case, we will consider the
Petition, as well as the related pleadings, as responses or comments to the Deficiency Letter.20
Second, although it is the policy of the Commission that motions for extension of time will not be
routinely granted, we will grant Truth Broadcasting’s request for a brief extension of time and
consider its Reply because Saga has consented and it will facilitate the resolution of this case on a
full and complete record.21 Third, we will not dismiss the Application for failure to prosecute
under Section 73.3568 because Truth Broadcasting timely filed a response to the Deficiency Letter
and is thus actively prosecuting the Application.22
Coverage of Urbanized Areas. Next, we consider Truth Broadcasting’s claim that, contrary to
the findings in the Deficiency Letter, there is no fully-spaced allotment site at which KTIA-FM
could upgrade to a Class C3 facility and provide a 70 dBu signal to 50 percent or more of the Des
Moines urbanized area. Based on our own independent analysis, we agree. Even though we found
a transmitter site, ASR #1017090, at which KTIA-FM could operate as a Class C3 station, our
analysis confirms that there is no fully-spaced allotment site, and, therefore, that the allotment of a
Class C3 station at Huxley would not be possible. However, upon further review, our staff
engineering analysis reveals that at a site previously suggested by Saga, ASR #1207229, KTIA-
FM could operate on Channel 257A with a directional antenna and cover all of Huxley and 50
18 Truth Broadcasting suggests that any future modification of KTIA-FM’s facilities could be conditioned on
the construction and licensing of the facilities specified in the Application, but if the proposed antenna
placement on ASR #1265420 is not available on commercially reasonable terms, Truth Broadcasting could
specify a different site provided that it would provide a 70 dBu signal to Huxley and not provide a 70 dBu
signal over 50 percent or more of the Ames or Des Moines urbanized areas under the standard prediction
method. See Truth Broadcasting’s Reply at 6.
19 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.106(a).
20 See, e.g., Harry F. Cole, Esq. and Scott Woodworth, Esq., Letter, 27 FCC Rcd 9295, 9298 (MB 2012)
(dismissing as procedurally defective a petition for reconsideration of an interlocutory action but also
examining the merits).
21 See Moncks Corner, Kiawah Island, and Sampit, North Carlina, Memorandum Opinion and Order, 15
FCC Rcd 8973 (granting extension of time with consent of opposing counsel).
22 See, e.g., Mark Lipp, Esq. and Barry A. Friedman, Esq., 27 FCC Rcd 15190, 15194 (MB 2012) (finding
no failure to prosecute where applicant, inter alia, responded to official staff correspondence regarding
percent or more of the Ames urbanized area with a 70 dBu signal.23 We recognize that, in the
Deficiency Letter, we previously rejected the use of this tower because it was not feasible to
remove antenna appurtenances at the top of the tower. However, Truth Broadcasting has
acknowledged the possible use of this tower at the 195-foot level when the Application was filed.24
Accordingly, we find that KTIA-FM could be modified to cover 50 percent or more of the Ames
urbanized area and, therefore, the Application is subject to the urbanized area service presumption.
Conditions. To prevent a “move-in” by KTIA-FM to the Des Moines or Ames urbanized
areas, Saga has suggested that we impose operating conditions, seeking to ensure that KTIA-FM
remains a Huxley, as opposed to an Ames or Des Moines, station. However, we believe that the
conditions suggested by Saga are unwarranted. As a preliminary matter, we are unaware of any
precedent for the imposition of such conditions. More importantly, Saga has not demonstrated
why it would be appropriate to depart from the rules and processing policies that the Commission
has established to effectuate Section 307(b) requirements. In these circumstances, we decline to
consider the imposition of such conditions.
Preferential Arrangement of Allotments. We next must determine whether the Application
would result in a preferential arrangement of allotments under the FM Allotment Priorities.25 In
the absence of a rebuttal to the urbanized area service presumption, Truth Broadcasting cannot
claim a first local service under Priority (3). As a result, we compare the existing and proposed
arrangement of allotments under Priority (4). We note that Truth Broadcasting also did not submit
a Priority (4) comparison between Boone and the Ames or Des Moines urbanized areas, choosing
instead to rely upon its engineering showing that the presumption does not apply. However, based
upon the record before us, we agree with Saga’s analysis that the retention of a fourth local service
at Boone is preferred over at least a seventh local service in the Ames urbanized area.26 While
23 Specifically, operating with facilities of 6 kW ERP/ 195 feet AGL (61 meters HAAT and 352 AMSL)
and a directional antenna pattern (Antenna ID 113614), the KTIA-FM 70 dBu contour could cover 60.5
percent of the Ames urbanized area. We arrived at this conclusion by examining Truth Broadcasting’s
claim in its Opposition to Informal Objection that, on this tower (ASR #1207229) with facilities of 6 kW
ERP/195 feet AGL (352 meters AMSL), the predicted 70 dBu contour would cover 45.8 percent of the
Ames urbanized area, using a directional antenna pattern (Antenna ID 114555) specified in Exhibit D. See
Truth Broadcasting’s Opposition to Informal Objection, Statement of William Getz at 4-5 and Exhibit D.
Our analysis confirms that using Truth Broadcasting’s antenna pattern, KTIA-FM would cover 45 percent
of the Ames urbanized area. However, by using a different directional pattern (Antenna ID 113614) on this
tower, KTIA-FM could provide the necessary protection to all adjacent stations and 70 dBu service to more
than 50 percent of the Ames urbanized area. We believe that it is appropriate to consider alternative
directional antenna patterns because the Commission indicated in Rural Radio that it “expect[s] all
applicants and allotment proponents to consider widely-used techniques, such as directional antennas and
contour protection, when certifying that the proposal could not be modified to provide a principal signal
over the community of license and 50 percent or more of an urbanized area.” See Rural Radio, 26 FCC
Rcd at 2575, n.97. We have attached, as an exhibit to this Letter, polar plots of the directional antenna
patterns utilized by Truth Broadcasting and the staff in their engineering studies.
24 See Truth Broadcasting’s Opposition to Informal Objection, Statement of William Getz at 4.
25 The FM allotment priorities are: (1) first fulltime aural service; (2) second fulltime aural service; (3) first
local service; and (4) other public interest matters. Co-equal weight is given to Priorities 2 and 3. See
Revision of FM Assignment Policies and Procedures, Second Report and Order, 90 FCC 2d 88 (1982).
26 See, e.g., James P. Riley, Esq., Letter, 27 FCC Rcd 12318 (MB 2012) (finding, under Priority 4, that
retention of fourth local service at Boone is preferred over 17th local service to the Des Moines urbanized
area); Bryan Broadcasting, Letter, 27 FCC Rcd 8058, 8064 (MB 2012) (dismissing application and finding
there would be a net gain in service to 247,399 persons, we do not believe that this gain in service
is decisionally significant in this case because both the gain and loss areas are well served with at
least ten services. Accordingly, we will dismiss the Application.27
As a final matter, Truth Broadcasting contends that, since the Deficiency Letter’s call for an
amendment was erroneous, the Deficiency Letter should not count as the “one opportunity for a
corrective amendment” under Section 73.3522.28 We disagree. The Deficiency Letter identified
an erroneous coverage claim in the Application that necessitated a corrective amendment.
Further, we explicitly notified Truth Broadcasting that this request constituted its one opportunity
to amend29 pursuant to Section 73.3522, which also applies to any deficiency not specifically
identified by the staff.”30 Accordingly, we do not believe that the public interest would be served
by entertaining any further amendment.
Conclusion.IT IS ORDERED that the Petition for Reconsideration filed by Truth
Broadcasting Corp. IS DISMISSED as a petition for reconsideration, and the Informal Objection
filed by Saga Communications of Iowa, LLC IS GRANTED to the extent indicated herein. IT IS
FURTHER ORDERED that the application, File No. BPH-20121113AMW, filed by Truth
Broadcasting Corp., IS DISMISSED.
Peter H. Doyle
Chief, Audio Division
cc: Positive Impact Media, Inc.
that retention of second local service at one community is preferred under Priority (4) over addition of 12th
local service to an urbanized area).
27 In light of this action, there is no need for an involuntary channel change by Station KPUL(FM),
Winterset, Iowa, which did not respond to the OSC.
28 See Truth Broadcasting’s Petition for Reconsideration at 2 n.2.
29 See Deficiency Letter at 4 (stating that “this letter constitutes the one opportunity for corrective
30 See 47 C.F.R. § 73.3522(c)(2).
TRUTH BROADCASTING DIRECTIONAL PATTERN
Antenna ID 114555
Make – HUX
Model TBC - DA7
STAFF ENGINEERING ANALYSIS DIRECTIONAL PATTERN8
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