You may recall back on September 11 we reported that Saga Communications had filed a petition with the FCC about 5 LPFM’s in Virginia. Saga believes the stations are operating as a cluster and running actual commercials to support their operation. And, Saga says, that violates the rules for LPFM’s. WPVC co-founder says this complaint isn’t going anywhere.
WPVC Jeff Lenert tells The Roanoke Times he’s not concerned at all about losing his license. “I don’t think this complaint will go very far, but I’m not sure that’s the intention. I think Saga sees us as a threat for whatever reason and they’re trying to make us spend a bunch of money to defend ourselves.”
The 5 LPFM’s are all located in the same building, however, WVAI-LP attorney Michael Richards told Radio Ink the stations are only located in the same building, but are not operating together. They are in the same building to cut down on costs and they operate independently. Richards says it’s perfectly legitimate to set up a condominium or co-op arrangement. “They are not commonly owned.” Lenert told the paper that’s exactly what’s happening with the stations. He said all of the stations operate separately and have only limited and largely incidental contact with one another.
Lenert told The Times Saga’s complaint is largely unenforceable and believes Saga is trying to get the stations to spend what little money it has. “FCC law is a small field and FCC lawyers who practice law relating to LPFM’s are particularly niche and thus more expensive.”