08 November, 2008

Followup RE: KPFA, KFCF and the LSB Meeting

Saturday, November 8, 2008: Earlier today, the KPFA Local Station Board held a meeting in Fresno. During the time period allocated for the obligatory Public Comment period, one speaker, specifically naming the "Media Justice" blog, expressed concern over a recent posting examining the merits of whether any LSB meeting could be legally held outside of its signal area.

The case in point: if station KFCF in Fresno, not owned by the Pacifica Foundation but rather by the Fresno Free College Foundation, and which happens to retransmit most of KPFA's programming into the Fresno area, somehow actually constitutes, by extension, KPFA's "...local station area" as per Pacifica's bylaws.

During the comments, the speaker failed to point out that the question of legality was originally raised by another Pacificaner to the National Board, as referred to here:

This reminder should assure all concerned: this author did not make the original claim of legality, but in merely considering the question, sought additional information provided examining the possible merits.

Pending a more comprehensive determination by the legal eagles, policy wonks, the FCC and the California Secretary of State on the question of whether an NCE license held by separate entity Y, but which happens to decide to carry a Station's X programming, does actually meet the definition of "Local Station Area" within which an LSB could meet, there still remains the question whether retransmission of KPFA's signal over KFCF for 90% of the broadcast day/week satisfies the requirements of 47 CFR 73.1125 and yet still qualifies to hold a local NCE license without a "Main Studio" Waiver from the FCC.

If this arcane language is confusing, then perhaps to simplify:

How does this hold up to the 'Reasonable Person' test in an age when the general public and policymakers all across the country are actively concerned about the FCC, broadcasters accountability and Broadcast Localism?

Also, should not the question of "signal area" as defined by the FCC be an aside from the 'Membership' and 'Affilate/Delegate' qualifications as far as the nonprofit/bylaws are concerned? When listeners in Miami, Utah and China donate, they can certainly become members; and, with the magic of moving a few commas on the Bylaws, they can certainly serve on the Boards. But, does that then qualify those areas to be an extension of the 'signal area'? Could LSB meetings be legally held in those areas?

Comments are welcome, as is any enlightenment.

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