Station owner vows to fight

FCC gets tough

Posted: Friday, February 08, 2002

The Federal Communications Commission has intensified its fight to get seven area radio translators off the air.

On Feb. 1, the FCC adopted an order to show cause and a forfeiture order against Peninsula Commu-nications Inc.

The orders are just the latest in a series of legal battles between the FCC and the Homer-based company, which operates radio stations KGTL, KXBA, KWVV and KPEN.

The dispute stems from the FCC's 1994 ruling that the stations must cease rebroadcasting from translators that carry radio signals past the parent station's coverage area. Peninsula Communications operates seven such translators, including two in Kenai and Soldotna, which rebroadcast KWVV, known as K-Wave; one each in Anchor Point, Kachemak City and Homer, all of which rebroadcast KPEN; and two in Kodiak, which rebroadcast KPEN and KWVV.

In May of last year, the FCC ordered Peninsula owner Dave Becker to cease operations of the seven translators, but he refused. Becker claims that his pending appeal of the ruling, as well as the Communications Act of 1996, should allow him to continue operation of the translators. He claims the FCC rulings have no basis in law, and that he has been continually denied due process in this matter.

The order to show cause commences a hearing process to determine whether Peninsula should have all broadcast licenses revoked as a result of its refusal to abide by the FCC ruling. According to the FCC's order, Peninsula Commu-nications has 30 days to respond. Failure to respond would forfeit the company's right to a hearing.

From his offices in Homer, Becker said he welcomed the FCC's latest order, and said he has every intention of filing a response.

"The good news is that we finally get our hearing," Becker said.

"This gives us the chance to go before an impartial administrative law judge."

In the second order, the FCC imposed a forfeiture in the amount of $140,000 against Peninsula Communications as a result of the company's defiance of the FCC's ruling.

If the company fails to pay the forfeiture, the matter could be turned over to the Department of Justice.

Becker believes the FCC has no grounds for issuing such an order, and that his company stands on firm legal ground in the matter.

"These things (the FCC orders) have no basis in law. ... We will prevail," Becker said.

Becker added that had he originally complied with the FCC's order in May, he would have lost his translator licenses outright after 12 months, along with his right to appeal the case. His position is that his broadcast rights cannot be revoked without due process. And he plans on battling the FCC for as long as it takes.

No date has yet been set for a hearing on the case, but Becker believes the dispute could drag on for months, or even years.

"It could go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court," he said. "I plan on fighting this tooth and nail."

The FCC had no comment on the matter.

Subscribe to Peninsula Clarion

Trending this week:


© 2018. All Rights Reserved. | Contact Us