WCJL(FM), Morgantown, Indiana
Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554December 29, 2009
DA 09-2637In Reply Refer to:
Released: December 29, 2009
Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Inc.
c/o Lauren A. Colby, Esq.
Law Office of Lauren A. Colby
10 E. Fourth Street
P.O. Box 113
Frederick, Maryland 21701
WCJL(FM), Morgantown, IndianaFacility ID No. 91951
File No. BPED-20090422AAD
Petition for ReconsiderationDear Counsel:
We have before us a Petition for Reconsideration (“Petition”) filed June 19, 2009, by Calvary
Chapel of Costa Mesa, Inc. (“Calvary Chapel”), licensee of Station WCJL(FM), Morgantown, Indiana.
Calvary Chapel seeks reconsideration of the June 18, 2009, staff letter that dismissed its community of
license application (the “Application”), as unacceptable for filing.1 For the reasons set forth below, we
deny the Petition.
Background.The Application requests a change in Station WCJL(FM)’s community of license
from Morgantown, Indiana, to Paragon, Indiana, and to modify its license to reflect this change. The
proposed reallotment would provide Paragon with its first local service. The Application was filed
pursuant to Section 73.3573(g) of the Commission’s Rules (the “Rules”), which permits the modification
of a station’s authorization to specify a new community of license without affording other interested
parties an opportunity to file competing expressions of interest. A determination is based on the FM
allotment priorities set forth in Revision of FM Assignment Policies and Procedures.2 The existing
arrangement of allotments is compared to the proposed arrangement of allotments. A reallotment
proposal must result in a preferential arrangement of allotments.3
The Division Letter found that the proposed Station WCJL(FM) reallotment to Paragon would not
result in a preferential arrangement of allotments as required by Community of License. Specifically, the
Division Letter stated that a first local service at Morgantown (Priority 3) was preferred over a first local
1 Letter to Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Inc. (MB rel. June 18, 2009) (“Division Letter”).
2 Revision of FM Assignment Policies and Procedures, Second Report and Order, 90 FCC 2d 88 (1988). 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).
3 See Modification of FM and TV Authorizations to Specify a New Community of License, Report and Order, 4 FCC
Rcd 4870 (1989) (“Community of License”), recon. granted in part, Memorandum Opinion and Order (“Community
of License MO&O), 5 FCC Rcd 7094(1990)( “Community of License Reconsideration Order”).
service at Paragon (Priority 3) because Morgantown is the larger community. In this regard,
Morgantown has a 2000 U.S. Census population of 964 persons while Paragon has a 2000 U.S. Census
population of 663 persons.
In addition, the Division Letter stated that the proposed Paragon reallotment would remove the
sole local operating service assigned to Morgantown. It concluded that Calvary Chapel had failed to
demonstrate that the facts of this case constitute the rare situation in which a presumptively disfavored
removal of a sole local service would be in the public interest. Accordingly, the Division Letter dismissed
the Application pursuant to Sections 73.3566(a) and 0.283 of the Rules.4
In its Petition, Calvary Chapel requests that we reconsider and set aside as erroneous the Division
Letter. In support of this position, Calvary Chapel alleges that no service is being removed from
Morgantown because Station WCJL never provided a local service to the community. It states that the
original construction permit for Station WCJL was issued along with a number of other construction
permits in order to resolve conflicts among mutually exclusive applications for new noncommercial
educational (“NCE”) stations. In this regard, the Commission waived for certain settling applicants the
requirement that a proposed facility provide fifty percent of its community of license with a 60 dBu city-
grade signal. 5 Calvary Chapel argues that the Station WCJL transmitter site is located 23 miles away
from Morgantown, and cannot be changed to provide coverage to Morgantown without violating the
Commission’s NCE FM contour protection requirements.6 It claims that although Station WCJL is
licensed to Morgantown, it has never provided a city-grade signal or any listenable signal to the
Discussion.We find no error in the Division Letter and, accordingly, deny the Petition. We
disagree with Calvary Chapel’s claim that Station WCJL does not provide coverage to Morgantown. In
this regard, a staff engineering analysis reveals that Station WCJL covers fifty percent of Morgantown
with a signal strength of at lease 54 dBu. As such, we consider Station WCJL as providing a local service
to Morgantown. The Section 73.515 waiver was based on the fact that this rule became effective only
after the Application was filed and to promote the expeditious introduction of new NCE service. The
waiver did not in any way relieve Station WCJL of its foundational Section 307(b) obligation to provide
locally responsive programming that meets the needs and interests of the residents of Morgantown.7
In these circumstances, the proposed relocation is contrary to established precedent in two distinct
ways. First, in a comparison between two outcomes which each implicate Priority 3, the proposed
4 47 C.F.R. §§ 73.3566 and 0.283.
5 See Reexamination of Comparative Standards for Noncommercial Educational Applicants, Memorandum Opinion
and Order, 16 FCC Rcd 5074, 5085 n. 25 (2001)(permitting NCE applicants to file a waiver of Section 73.515 of the
Rules to resolve conflicts among the many mutually exclusive NCE applications filed prior to the adoption of the
Rule); see also, 47 C.F.R. § 73.515.
6 See 47 C.F.R. § Section 73.509.
7 Although there is not sufficient evidence in this case to refer this matter to the Enforcement Bureau, we note that
the Petitioner has stated in its Petition that no community is being deprived of a local service because Station WCJL
never provided a local service or any service whatsoever to its licensed community of Morgantown, Indiana. The
Petitioner is advised that WCJL(FM) has an issue-responsive service obligation to provide programming responsive
to its community of license and that its programming record will be a relevant factor in the evaluation of the
Station’s license renewal application.
reallotment would provide a first local service to the smaller community of Paragon.8 Moreover and
independently, the Commission strongly disfavors the removal of a community’s sole local existing
service. This policy is subject, as are all Commission policies, to waiver in appropriate circumstances.9
However, the Commission emphasized in Community of License Reconsideration Order that a proposal
that would create a new local service at the expense of an existing service is not sufficient, by itself, to
warrant a waiver, and concluded that such a proposal would be presumptively contrary to the public
interest.10 To this end, the public has a legitimate expectation that existing service will continue, and this
expectation is a factor weighed independently against the service benefits that may result from reallotting
of a channel from one community to another. Removal of service is warranted only if there are sufficient
public interest factors to offset the expectation of continued service. In this case, we find that Calvary
Chapel has not persuaded us that we should create a new exception to this policy for those stations that
fail to satisfy NCE community coverage requirements.
Conclusion.Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED, that the Petition for Reconsideration filed by
Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Inc., IS DENIED.
Peter H. Doyle
Chief, Audio Division
8 Blanchard, Louisiana and Stephens, Arkansas, Memorandum Opinion and Order, 10 FCC Rcd 9828 (1995) (when
comparing two first local service proposals under Priority 3, proposal providing service to larger community is
9 See Northeast Cellular Telephone Co. v. F.C.C., 897 F. 2d 1164, 1166 (D.C. Cir. 1990)(stating that a waiver is
appropriate only if special circumstances warrant a deviation from the general rule and such deviation will serve the
10 Community of License Reconsideration Order, 5 FCC Rcd at 7097.