andyw , November 21, 2012
Pre Telecommunications Act of 1996, a typical community station application only took a few months to be accepted. But because of the deregulation of the airwaves and the mass filings for frequencies on the non-commercial end of the dial, organizations often found themselves tied-up with other competing organizations for years. This was especially true for LCCR, and it became a frustrating, seven year wait and struggle. But somehow LCCR found its way through the maze.
As mentioned, four national Christian networks desired the 88.1 frequency along with LCCR. None of them were local, and in fact, boasted hundreds of applications across the country and had out-monied and out-waited or bought out their opponents. At one time LCCR was offered $50,000 (and that figure easily would have climbed to $125,000) for dropping out of the locked up situation by one of these networks. But the principled folks at LCCR were not dissuaded with the possibilities of having a “well-financed” lpfm station and turned down the offer, even though there was no guarantee whatsoever that they would ever get the bigger station.
Even though there was little money to carry on a campaign against powerful, national networks, LCCR managed to continue the struggle. By good fortune, patience, negotiations, stubbornness, legal maneuvers, and with the help of The National Federation of Community Broadcasters (who lobbied the FCC to give preference to local organizations), LCCR prevailed. And on April 25, 2005, a construction permit (the right to use 88.1fm) was awarded the to LCCR to broadcast to the entire county (and to parts of four other northern California counties), almost seven years after the application had been submitted.
As much as it was a disappointment, it became necessary to shut down the lpfm station in the summer of 2005. The LCCR Board of Directors decided that trying to pay the bills for the lpfm station while trying to raise the money to get the bigger station on the air was too overwhelming for an all-volunteer station. The programmers said their good-byes to the audience, the equipment was packed away, and a new effort towards fundraising and finishing the job which had begun ten years earlier began. But the struggle is not over until the third and final station hits the airwaves.