Boston Coalition for Independent Media

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Fight the corporate grab for public radio frequencies in Mass.


SEE TODAY’S ACTION BELOW!

THANK YOU to everyone who wrote the FCC objecting to CSN International's request that FCC waive the normal requirement to build a local radio studio.

On March 3 we learned that the FCC could grant or deny the waiver at any time (not only at 30 days). There is more time to submit objections by postal mail.

Our collective action asserts a public right to have a say in our local media. More objections by letter can slow down CSN's "instant request" and help bolster an FCC denial of the main studio waiver.

If you wrote but didn't e-mail us a copy of your letter, please e-mail it to boston(at)democracies.com, especially if you're from south of Boston, around Scituate, Marshfield, Hingham, Bridgewater, Taunton, Norton, Foxboro, Braintree, Quincy, Randolph, Norwood. We are gaining momentum: look at the Boston Phoenix article Corporate bigfoot CSN tunes out community stations by Mike Miliard. Now more than ever, we need to keep that momentum going strong!

BACKGROUND:

A chain of hundreds of radio stations is grabbing non-commercial stations around Boston and the nation to expand their syndicated satellite-fed signal. The evangelical CSN International (a.k.a. Calvary) has over 200 applications filed with the FCC for stations, including half dozen stations around Boston. A list can be found by entering "CSN INTERNATIONAL" beside the "Licensee" field here.

CSN International is licensed in the town of Scituate, yet plans to locate their transmitter in the town of Plymouth, MA. Normally, non-commercial stations are required to operate a human-staffed "main studio" in their city of license. Non-commercial stations are supposed to have a local character with local production about local affairs by local staffers or volunteers, and not be overrun by a chain's canned programming. But in February CSN International moved to eliminate that requirement for WSMA “would-be” 90.5 FM in Scituate/Plymouth. That is, CSN has asked the FCC to waive the normal requirement for a "main studio" in the town of license. Their application for an “Instant Request Waiver” of the normal requirement appears to be a stealth maneuver designed to avoid public scrutiny. In their application CSN International has proposed to locate their “main studio” 87 miles away from the town of license in Fitchburg, MA.

They will succeed, unless a concerted opposition is mounted.

As you probably know, many broadcast chains enjoyed a spree of buying small non-commercial radio stations across the country in recent years, often taking educational, public, community and college frequencies that weren't organized to defend against it. This national issue is featured in the Feb. 25 "Media Minutes" update by Free Press. Listeners affected could include those to a variety of non-commercial stations from Greater Boston, Worcester and Rhode Island including areas ranging from Boston, Quincy, Hingham, Weymouth, Taunton and to the north.

The CSN chain's interfering signals would include 90.5 FM with 20,000 Watts pointed toward Boston, coming from the South Shore, and also 91.7 FM. with 200 Watts in Lexington, Massachusetts which could affect Boston area stations. They've applied for others as well.

See CSN International's request that FCC waive their "main studio" requirement.

There are no objections filed yet with FCC, and FCC takes that as an indication of no one objecting.

  • Legal actions regarding the waiver would otherwise appear here.
  • Public comments about the waiver would appear here.
  • FCC comments on local ownership can be found here and here.

See CSN International's earlier application (already granted) to FCC and antenna map of coverage at this resource here.

Stand up for local community media, for community access to the media that provide information vital to democracy.

The 400-station chain CSN International is grabbing stations in Boston and nationwide, including powerful stations that would interfere with Boston's long-standing non-commercial campus-community radio.

YOU can oppose this, but only by acting now!

TODAY’S ACTION:

We need people to fax (preferably) or write the FCC opposing a waiver for CSN.

 

We especially need people from the communities (or areas nearby) listed below :

Carver, Duxbury, Halifax, Hanover, Humarock, Kingston, Manomet, Marshfield, Middleboro,

Monponsett, Pembroke, Plymouth, Plympton, Scituate, and Wenham.

 

You're extremely effective if you're from the area above and include

your address in your letter.

Fax or write your opposition today to the FCC.

Sample Fax or Letter:

Here is a sample letter outlining strong arguments for denying the waiver CSN requested:

    Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary 
    attention:  Audio Services Division
    Federal Communications Commission
    Office of the Secretary
    445 12th Street SW
    Washington, DC 20554
 
    Regarding:
    Facility ID 122202 
    Community of license: Scituate, Massachusetts
    Licensee: CSN International
    Call sign: WSMA
    FCC file number 20050201BWB
 
    Dear Ms. Dortch,
 
    Please accept my comment and opposition to the petition for the 
    "main studio" waiver that CSN International filed for WSMA radio.
 
    CSN International fails to show good cause or benefit to the public 
    interest in its request for waiver of the main studio requirement. 
    It does not explain sufficiently why it makes this "instant request" 
    after obtaining its permit from earlier filings.
 
    If FCC were to grant this waiver, it would violate the important 
    principle of localism for which FCC stands in many decisions. 
 
    CSN International proposes a main studio that it says would be 
    87 miles from its community of license. 
 
    CSN International's proposed main studio violates FCC regulations 
    in 47 C.F.R. section 73.1125(a). CSN International does not meet the 
    criteria for exception to the above as set out in section 73.1125(b)(2). 
 
    CSN International claims economic hardship as good cause, and lays out 
    the estimated cost of maintaining the main studio, but fails to prove 
    that cost is an economic hardship. CSN International has the resources 
    of a national broadcast chain. Indeed, beyond CSN's claim to be 
    "licensee of more than 100 NCE Stations, FM Construction Permits and 
    FM Translators across the country," FCC databases show CSN International 
    to be licensee of aforesaid for over 250 stations in 35 states, both 
    commercial and noncommercial. Most other noncommercial radio stations 
    around greater Boston, Massachusetts maintain their main studio in 
    their community of license, even lacking the resources of a national 
    broadcast chain. 
 
    CSN's argument asserts that a corporation can have the resources to 
    buy stations, yet claim they lack sufficient resources to staff those 
    stations. This serves neither localism nor the public interest.
 
    CSN International offers very little showing of operation in the 
    public interest. It would fail to meet the level of service in the public 
    interest that other noncommercial educational stations around greater 
    Boston provide by operating main studios in their community of license, 
    meaningfully engaging local staff and volunteers in the production of 
    the vast majority of their programming, including about local affairs. 
    This meets a far higher level of service in the public interest than 
    CSN's stated plans involving a toll-free phone number to call about 
    station operations.
 
    Thank you for considering these reasons not to grant CSN International 
    a waiver of the main studio requirement for WSMA.
 

Including a statement like the above is strategically most important at this time. Maximize effectiveness by maintaining a polite respectful tone. The FCC is bound to represent the public, but only if we express it.

Fax letters immediately to: (202) 418-1087, press #, load your document, press # again.

Written letters may also be sent to:

    Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary 
    attention:  Audio Services Division
    Federal Communications Commission
    Office of the Secretary
    445 12th Street SW
    Washington, DC 20554
 
    Regarding:
    Facility ID 122202 
    Community of license: Scituate, Massachusetts
    Licensee: CSN International
    Call sign: WSMA
    FCC file number 20050201BWB

 

 

Keep a copy of your letter. Please let us know you wrote, and include your letter, with your email.

Fax or Mail your note of opposition today to the FCC.

Thank you for standing up for local community production and access to the media that provide information vital to democracy. Your action today opens big beautiful possibilities for the future! Without you, democracy is nothing. With you, anything is possible.

 

MORE INFORMATION:

Learn more from this week’s Boston Phoenix article:

"Corporate bigfoot CSN tunes out community stations" by Mike Miliard

 

 

 

As you probably know, many broadcast chains enjoyed a spree of buying small non-commercial radio stations across the country in recent years, often taking educational, public, community and college frequencies that weren't organized to defend against it. This national issue is featured in the Feb. 25 "Media Minutes" update by Free Press

Listeners affected could include those to a variety of non-commercial stations from Greater Boston, Worcester and Rhode Island. A WSMA could affect listeners ranging from Boston, Quincy, Hingham, Weymouth, Taunton and to the north.

The CSN chain's interfering signals would include 90.5 FM with 20,000 Watts pointed toward Boston, coming from the South Shore, and also 91.7 FM. with 200 Watts in Lexington, Massachusetts. They've applied for others as well.

See CSN International's request that FCC waive their "main studio" requirement.

There are no objections filed yet with FCC, and FCC takes that as an indication of no one objecting.

  • Legal actions regarding the waiver would otherwise appear here.
  • Public comments about the waiver would appear here.
  • FCC comments on local ownership can be found here and here.

See CSN International's earlier application (already granted) to FCC and antenna map of coverage at this resource here.

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"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors, must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives. A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy or perhaps both." -- James Madison (Fourth President of the United States)


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Last revised:  3/4/05