FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION Washington, D.C. 20554 May 4, 1998 In Reply Refer to: 1800B3-MFW Mr. Eric Redd 724 East Bay Street East Tawas, MI 48730 Christopher D. Imlay, Esq. Booth, Freret, Imlay, & Tepper, P.C. Suite 204 1223 20th Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20036-2304 In re: NEW Commercial FM Translator, East Tawas, Michigan Eric Redd BPFT-970224TD Gentlemen: This letter refers to: (1) the captioned application of Eric Redd ("Redd") for a new commercial FM translator on Channel 248 (97.5 MHz) in East Tawas, Michigan; and (2) the May 1, 1997 petition to deny that application, filed on behalf of Carroll Enterprises, Inc. ("Carroll"), licensee of stations WIOS(AM) and WKJC(FM) in Tawas City, Michigan. (Footnote 1). For the reasons set forth below, we will grant Carroll's petition in part and dismiss Redd's application. Redd's translator proposes to rebroadcast station WBMI(FM), West Branch, Michigan; it will be located beyond WBMI(FM)'s primary coverage (60 dBu) contour. Carroll notes that the proposed translator violates 47 C.F.R. §74.1232(d) (Footnote 2) because Redd has an impermissible business relationship with the owner of WBMI(FM). Specifically, Carroll states that: (1) Redd's retail carpet sale business, Judd's Carpeting, buys advertising time on WBMI(FM); and (2) Redd's proposed transmitter location is atop a building at 130 Newman Street, East Tawas, which is leased by Ives Broadcasting, Inc., WBMI(FM)'s licensee, for use in operation of its other station, WHST(FM) in Tawas City. (Footnote 3). Discussion. In MM Docket No. 88-140 (Footnote 4), the Commission tightened and/or clarified several technical and operational requirements for FM translator stations after affirming that the proper role for that service was to supplement the service provided by full-service FM radio broadcast stations. The amended regulations prohibit the licensee of a commercial FM station, or any entity "interested or connected with" the licensee of such a primary station, from owning an FM translator if the translator's coverage area extends beyond the primary station's coverage contour. "Interested or connected" parties include group owners, corporate parents, shareholders, officers, directors, employees, general and limited partners, family members, and business associates. See 47 C.F.R. §74.1232(d). Because of the potential for abuse, the Commission intended for this restriction to be read very broadly. Report and Order in MM Docket No. 88-140, 5 FCC Rcd at 7244, note 25 (1990). The underlying rationale for this prohibition has been to prevent FM station licensees from using FM translators as a competitive means for extending their stations' service areas. Id., at 7213. We conclude that the facts presented in this case violate the commercial FM translator ownership restrictions contained in Section 74.1232(d). (Footnote 5). As noted, the Commission will not issue a commercial FM translator authorization to any person or entity having "any interest whatsoever [in] or any connection with" a primary FM station. Redd has evidenced several business connections with Ives' -- buying advertising on the primary station and leasing transmitter site from the primary station's owner -- that we believe are the types of relationships that the Commission anticipated and forbade in MM Docket No. 88-140. (Footnote 6). Accordingly, in light of the above discussion, the petition to deny filed by Carroll Broadcasting, Inc. IS GRANTED to the extent indicated above, and the application (File No. BPFT-970224TD) of Eric Redd for a new FM translator station on Channel 248 in East Tawas, Michigan, IS DISMISSED. Sincerely, Linda Blair, Chief Audio Services Division Mass Media Bureau __________________________________________ Footnote 1: Redd filed an opposition to the petition on May 13, 1997, to which Carroll replied on May 29, 1997. Footnote 2: Section 74.1232(d) indicates that an authorization for a commercial FM translator station whose coverage contour extends beyond the protected contour of the primary station to be rebroadcast by that translator will not be granted to the licensee or permittee of the primary station or to any person or entity having any interest in or connection with such primary station. Similarly, Section 74.1232(e) prohibits such "other area" commercial FM translators from receiving support, directly or indirectly, from the primary station or any person or entity having any interest in or connection with the primary station. Footnote 3: Redd does not deny these contentions. Rather, he admits that he does buy advertising on WBMI(FM), as he "is trying to expand [his] business into West Branch," although he believes that he pays the station's regular advertising rates and receives no special discount or consideration from the station. Additionally, Redd notes that the WHST(FM) studio "is a logical place for me to locate my translator," because, among other reasons, WHST(FM) "has trained personnel at the studio site who could assist in the event of an emergency." Redd states that, when his facility is constructed, he will pay rent for the roof space his facility will occupy. Footnote 4: Notice of Inquiry, 3 FCC Rcd 3664 (1988); Report and Order, 5 FCC Rcd 7212 (1990); Memorandum Opinion and Order, 8 FCC Rcd 5093 (1993). Footnote 5: Given the facts and our finding here, we need not consider Carroll's claim that Redd is merely a "straw person" for Ives' broadcasting interests or that he has somehow lacked candor with the Commission in disclosing his business relationships with Ives. Footnote 6: In Letter to Mr. P. Anthony Reed et al., reference 1800B2-DEB (Chief, Audio Services Division, Mass Media Bureau, September 5, 1995), the staff approved Mr. Reed's application for a new FM translator at Rawlins, Wyoming, notwithstanding that Mr. Reed's employer, the Fremont Beverage Company, bought advertising time on the primary station to be carried on Mr. Reed's translator. There was no other nexus between Mr. Reed and the primary station. Here, Mr. Redd himself runs the company placing the advertisements, and he has contracted with the primary station owner to lease space for his translator. The instant case therefore is distinguishable, and Reed is not controlling. In any event, we note that the Rawlins, Wyoming proceeding is the subject of a pending application for review and is not yet a final decision.