Those Funny Translators

As a part of our research for Ohio Media Watch, we dive into FCC public access records quite a bit. OK, so maybe not as much as our good friend Scott Fybush does, but we do check in from time to time. (For one, we’re continuing to watch for the construction permit application for WJER-FM 101.7’s move to North Canton.)

And while looking at some of this stuff, we occasionally run into applications for new construction permits for translators. Most of them are filed on behalf of religious broadcasters like California-based “K-Love” (Educational Media Foundation). At least one Akron translator is meant to repeat WOFN/88.7 Beach City, otherwise known as the Canton market outlet for the religious Oasis Network. That one’s 9 watts at 102.5 FM from the Akron FM/TV “antenna farm” off Route 261 in Copley Township.

And then, there are two odd ones. Don’t worry, we’ll explain…

For example, why would Salem Cleveland CCM outlet WFHM/95.5 apply for a 250 translator on 95.7 FM in Akron, right next to its primary signal, located at that same antenna farm? “95.5 The Fish” has no problems reaching Akron.

And for that matter, why would Clear Channel top 40 outlet WAKS/96.5 “Kiss FM”, licensed to Akron, need to plant a new 250 watt translator on 99.7 licensed to Canton, located at what appears to be the former WKDD/98.1 primary (and current auxiliary) stick near Louisville? We haven’t driven down there for a while, but we don’t seem to recall getting signal reception problems there on 96.5.

We told you there’d be an explanation.

Existing full-power broadcasters do this all the time. They’re “protecting” their licensed signals from nearby low-power incursion. It basically takes no effort for Clear Channel, an established licensee, to apply for a translator on 99.7 in Canton – so no one else grabs it and gives the company’s WGAR/99.5 reception fits in the Canton market. And ditto with Salem and the Akron 95.7 allocation.

The stations can “tie up” the frequency at very least for the long process it takes to apply for and get the CP, then for the three years they’re allowed to take to construct the facility. We suspect in similar situations, where a station has a large secondary market a certain distance from the primary COL, there would be a lot of these.

We don’t know if any of these “protection” applications have ever been built out…

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