Federal reversal could open door to second JSU radio station
by Brian Anderson
May 30, 2012 | 3574 views |  0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The reversal of a decision by the federal government could give Jacksonville State University a chance to hit the airwaves with a new radio station.

The Federal Communications Commission last week awarded the JSU Board of Trustees a license to broadcast a noncommercial educational format on 100.1 FM from a transmitter in Anniston. The verdict came nearly a year after the school petitioned against the commission’s decision to award the license to Anniston Seventh-Day Adventist Church, and almost two years after JSU’s initial application for the license.

It was unclear Tuesday how the university planned to use the station, or what resources would be tapped to get the station running. Patty Hobbs, public relations director at JSU, said the trustees haven’t disclosed information about the station, including money sources or programming, because of a 30-day appeal period for parties to file a petition to deny JSU the license.

Similarly, Hobbs said, Anniston Seventh-Day Adventist Church had been advised to avoid making statements about the decision.

“I guess we’ll be getting information soon,” Hobbs said.

The 30-day appeal period will end June 22.

While the station’s planned programming is currently a mystery, Mike Stedham, the faculty advisor for JSU’s existing student-run radio station WLJS, said he believes the new station will not interfere with his operations.

“As for the new frequency, I haven’t heard what they’re going to do,” Stedham said. “My hope is they provide great additional radio service for the area.”

Attempts Tuesday to reach JSU President William Meehan were unsuccessful.

According to FCC documents, the decision to award Anniston Seventh-Day Adventist Church with the radio license was reversed based on a petition filed by JSU that claimed the church’s station did not meet the “reservation standard” defined by the FCC for the license. In its initial application, the church said its station would reach a radius in which 24 percent of the population did not have a first or secondary noncommercial educational station.

But JSU’s petition said the church did not factor in five additional noncommercial educational stations serving the area, and that the church’s broadcast would only reach 6.8 percent of the population not already covered by another station. FCC guidelines required the station receiving the license to hit a 10 percent threshold to reach a “fair distribution.”

Attempts Tuesday to reach Pastor David Holton of Anniston Seventh-Day Adventist Church were unsuccessful.

Of the eight applicants for the station, JSU was the only non-religious organization to apply, according to the FCC.

JSU’s current radio station, student-run WLJS, began broadcasting in 1975.

The new radio station, 100.1 FM, would reach listeners in Gadsden, Piedmont and Talladega according to the FCC’s website.

Staff writer Brian Anderson: 256-235-3546. On Twitter @BAnderson_Star.

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