Back in September of 2019, Saga Communications asked the FCC to deny the license renewals of five Low Power FM radio stations in Virginia. Saga claimed the stations were not following FCC rules to qualify them as LPFM’s.
Saga believes the stations are operating under a management or operating agreement (in other words they are functioning as a cluster), they regularly broadcast commercials, and they are simulcasting programming. The Saga petition says the LPFM stations have not served the public interest, convenience, and necessity as they are supposed to do under the FCC’s LPFM guidelines.
The FCC has agreed to look into the matter and has asked the station to respond to 18 questions within 30 days. You can read exactly what the FCC is looking for HERE.
The LPFM’s are (in Charlottesville) WXRK owned by Blue Ridge Free Media, WVAI owned by Air Mix Virginia, WPVC owned by Promise Land Communications, WREN owned by Genesis Communications, and (in Ruckersville) WKMZ owned by Gateway Media.
The five LPFM’s are all located in the same building. An attorney for WVAI-LP, Michael Richards, told Radio Ink back in October that 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.”
WPVC co-founder Jeff Lenert told The The Roanoke Times he wasn’t concerned 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.”