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Last September, Educational Media Foundation was granted a construction permit for a new FM translator station in White Lake Twp, Oakland County on 93.9 FM. The application for the translator stated it would carry the programming of WAKL-FM 88.9 Flint (currently Contemporary Christian "K-Love"). When that permit was granted, it raised the eyebrows of several radio watchers in the area as there already was a station on 93.9, Windsor's CIDR-FM. That station puts a decent signal into that part of Oakland County-- making the decisions that led to the grant on 93.9 pretty surprising/questionable.

Last week, the FCC granted EMF's request to change the frequency of that translator to 104.7 -- a much better location. Do the participants of the Michigan Radio and TV Buzzboard get a fee for their consulting services on this one?



While the grant of the EMF may raise questions, the use of the 93.9 frequency was well within the bounds of the Agreement between the United States and Canada. As long as the 54 dBu F(50,10) contour of the translator does not reach Canadian land area, there is not an issue with the Agreement. In fact, Canadian stations could put tranlators on every Detroit area frequency across the river in Windsor if they so desired, as long as the 54 dBu F(50,10) contour did not reach U.S. soil, and still comply with the treaty. Those tranlators, and the White Lake one, would receive a lot of interference, but they do not have to be protected by stations in either the U.S. OR Canada, they are SECONDARY services. The proposed applications of EMF need a chain of translators to get to Metro Detroit, however unreliable that chain may be. But the 93.9 with a good receiving antenna at the next link may have provide just the link they needed to skip from one hill to another. There's a lot of low power and full power activity on 104.7, and that may be far from an ideal frequency also.

But the thing to remember is that under the Agreement between the U.S. and Canada, U.S. stations are not protected from interference in Canada, and Canadian stations are not protected from interference in the U.S.

The only grant that I have seen in this area that violates the Agreement is that the 107.9 in Windsor only protects the existing facility of WCRZ (50 kW omni, 101 meters), not the full Class B (50 kW omni, 150 meters) allotment as required in the Agreement. For years, U.S. noncommercial stations have been repeatedly turned down on frequencies ocuupied by CIDR (88.7) and CBE-FM (89.9) because they did not protect the stations as if it had a full C1 (100 kW omni, 300 meter HAAT) facility. The towers are not more than 200 meters HAAT, and the Canadian version of the FAA will apprently not approve anything higher.

I thought that was pretty ridiculous. I was in White Lake last October and 93.9 was very strong while 104.7 was nothing but static. Kind of seems like they would have found 104.7 in the first place.

104.7 is a horrible place for the station. WIOT still comes in, though it can be weak. The hills in Western Oakland really help the station's coverage area, but if you go to the east side, the station is non-existant. Let's hope this station doesn't make it on the air.

Unfortunately, the FCC is clogging up distant stations with new translator applications. There's nothing we can do about it because they are following the guidelines with constructing them. And there really aren't many open spots on the dial in Metro Detroit.






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This page contains a single entry by Mike Austerman published on March 7, 2005 2:09 PM.

WCSX's charity car project twice as nice was the previous entry in this blog.

Pat McGonigle leaves WXMI Grand Rapids is the next entry in this blog.

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