WBUR's L-O-N-G Station ID

Scott Fybush scott@fybush.com
Tue Feb 26 12:11:49 EST 2013

On 2/26/2013 8:58 AM, Paul B. Walker, Jr. wrote:
> Why would WGTZ have been cited for this? I don't see anything wrong with it.

As I've said repeatedly, there are two sets of FCC rules. There's the 
black-and-white text in the Code of Federal Regulations, and then 
there's the unwritten set of interpretations (the penumbra, if you will) 
that's built on years of citations and appeals and rulemaking procedures 
and, often, simply whatever mood an FCC inspector finds himself in on a 
given day.

There was a time when the FCC looked beyond the black-and-white "calls 
and city of license" in 73.1201 and did not allow stations to append any 
other cities after the legal ID. This never, as far as I know, appeared 
in print in the rules, but it was nevertheless enforced in the field. 
Whether or not Great Trails ever got cited for "Eaton Dayton Alive" in 
the early 1980s, we know that Gordon McLendon *did* get brushback from 
the FCC around 1961 for "KABL Oakland, in the air everywhere over San 

Same thing with the use of fake calls. There was a time when an 
inspector would be quick to cite a station for using a set of calls not 
on its license at ANY time during the hour. The printed rules may not 
have changed since then, but the real-world rules have: the FCC simply 
doesn't care these days whether you call yourself "WQQQ" 23 times an 
hour as long as you use your legal "WRRR" at the top. Some of the change 
in FCC interpretation probably has to do with the Commission's own move 
away from using the callsign as the unique identifier for a station; 
today, it's the facility ID number in CDBS that matters more.

(Which brings us back around to "WKRP": the station in question was 
actually KRPN 107.9 in Roy, Utah, just north of Salt Lake, and they did 
for a time call themselves "WKRP in Salt Lake City," presumably with 
that "Roy" COL inserted at the top of the hour.)


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