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Nov 16 2007

Many groups seek new FM licenses


The St. Vincent De Paul Society is seeking a radio license in Uniontown, according to the Herald-Standard.

The proposed non-commercial educational FM station would be located at the society’s thrift store on North Mount Vernon Avenue, the newspaper says.

In addition, PBRTV has learned that members of Knights of Columbus Lodge 1400 in Bellevue have applied for a license in Evans City, Butler County, under the corporate name “Fourteen Hundred Inc.” The proposed station would broadcast on 89.7 mHz with 3.7 kW of power.

Those filings are among 132 new non-commercial FM applications in Pennsylvania received by the FCC during a recent “filing window.” A majority of the applications are from religious groups.

. . .

In Uniontown, Roy Sarver, executive director of the local council of St. Vincent De Paul, told the H-S that the station would likely be an affiliate of either ETWN or Relevant Radio. Local programming might be added later, he said.

Relevant Radio, based in Green Bay, Wis., currently owns WZUM (1590) in Carnegie, but its signal is poorly heard in Fayette County.

The application filed with the Federal Communications Commission indicates that St. Vincent De Paul has asked for 2.5 kW on 88.7 mHz FM from a tower located about halfway between Connellsville and Confluence. The station would be licensed to Connellsville, but its primary signal contour would not include Uniontown, according to the map on the FCC’s Web site.

In addition, listeners in Uniontown trying to hear 88.7 mHz would likely face some interference from another religious broadcaster, Charlotte, N.C. based Bible Broadcasting Network, whose 16 kW WYFU-FM (88.5) is licensed to nearby Masontown and broadcasts from a tower in southern Greene County.

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Of 11 dozen new educational FM licenses requested in Pennsylvania, many, if not most, are from Christian churches or religious broadcasters.

Pittsburgh-area applications include:

  • 88.1 in Ellwood City, Beaver and Lawrence counties, from Aquinas Academy (a private Catholic school in Gibsonia);
  • 88.1 in Greenville, Mercer County, from Thiel College;
  • 88.7 in Grove City, Mercer County, from Solid Rock Broadcasting of Tupelo, Miss.;
  • 88.7 in Cranberry Township, ButlerVenango County, from Duquesne University; this 50 kW allocation would presumably rebroadcast Pittsburgh’s WDUQ-FM (90.5); and
  • 91.7 in New Stanton, Westmoreland County, from Pittsburgh Community Broadcasting Corp., parent organization of WYEP-FM (91.3).

It will likely take months, if not years, before the FCC sorts through the applications.

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The licenses, if awarded, would add to an already crowded non-commercial band in Pittsburgh. Few frequencies remain open.

Besides low-powered FM translators, existing full-power non-commercial FM allocations in Allegheny, Washington and Westmoreland counties include stations on 88.1, 88.3, 89.3, 90.5, 91.3 and 91.7.

In addition, there are stations on 88.9, 89.7 and 90.7 in the Johnstown area, 90.3 and 91.9 in Meadville, and 91.1 in Grove City.