Scott Fybush scott@fybush.com
Fri May 13 16:09:24 EDT 2005

>I personally feel that WPEP COULD get an X-band slot,
>if they (Anastos) feel a compelling interest to do
>some FCC paperwork and show the interest of the
>community.  But, from what I have observing.... they
>simply want to "take the money and run"...
>1570/Taunton is not long for this world.

And I respectfully disagree about the X-band slot. The only reason WPEP is 
going dark on 1570 is that its licensee finds it more economically 
attractive to accept an offer to voluntarily surrender the license. There 
is no emergency situation (loss of a leased transmitter site, let's say) 
that makes continued operation of WPEP on 1570 impossible, just an economic 
judgment on the part of the licensee that it's more lucrative to take the 
station silent than to continue operating it.

So if WPEP came to the FCC and asked to move to, say, 1670, my contention 
is that it would have a very weak case. The "interest of the community" 
doesn't apply here, since any move to 1670 would be a voluntary one (and 
since Taunton would not, in any event, lose radio service.)

 From the FCC's point of view, then, an application to move to 1670 would 
be treated just as any other major change application would be. As I've 
pointed out, there is currently a freeze in place on major change 
applications. Even the window that opened in early 2004 specifically 
excluded applications for the X-band.

In fact, there's no better example of consistency in FCC policy than the 
X-band. There have been NO authorizations for the X-band - not a one - 
other than those stemming from the initial "improvement factor" list of 
eligible stations compiled in the early 90s (for which WPEP might well have 
been a candidate had it applied, which I don't believe it did) and the 
small handful of stations authorized under "note 1" of 47CFR73.30, which 
was indeed an example of some very powerful political pork at work.

Here's the link to 47CFR73.30: 

There's no provision there for authorizing a new X-band operation outside a 
window, and indeed there have been no authorizations outside the initial 

And you know what? I'm actually rather proud of the way the FCC has handled 
the X-band. There has been considerable pressure on the Commission to 
liberalize the X-band rules and allow more stations on there, and for once 
the Commission has taken its time and avoided the temptation to jam the 
dial overly full, the way the rest of the AM and FM dials have become. 
Until the Commission can come up with a way to rationally and efficiently 
manage the many, many stations who'd like to move to the X-band, they're 
biding their time.

Note, too, that the Commission is legally bound, thanks to the 
Communications Act of 1996, to subject competing applicants for commercial 
broadcast facilities to an auction process. So that procedure would apply 
to any eventual X-band window as well, further complicating any theoretical 
X-band move for WPEP.

>I'll be honest in asking, WHY would Willow Farm want
>to put a 50,000 watt signal that "feeds the fishies"
>and very little else?  The electric bill will be
>staggering for the amount of potential listenership
>gain (if any).  The night time signal will still be
>what it is now.  Only the applicant knows for sure.

I don't know exactly what Keating has in mind, but I can guess. Yes, a huge 
chunk of the WNSH signal will feed the fishies - but it will still be a 
very respectable signal over much of the North Shore, even a considerable 
ways inland, by day. There's potential there to build a nice regional 
signal that's "Not Boston. Not New Hampshire. Just the North Shore." 
(There's also the factor that an engineering friend of mine refers to as 
the "Letterhead 50" - it looks ever so impressive, as the old WMEX or WLKW 
could tell you, to be able to put "50,000 Watts" on the stationery.)

Dan Strassberg has speculated that the deletion of WPEP could open the way 
for class B night facilities at WNSH. Still minimal, to be sure, but more 
than 85 watts, in any event.

And perhaps Dan can tell us whether the eventual deletion of WSMN might 
allow for WNSH to push a little more signal inland? I'm thinking it 
couldn't hurt...


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