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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Before you renew your membership in Public Radio..., I have been a supporter of Public Radio for years as Listener Supported Radio.  I think that's valuable.  As long as it provides a service.

Now, I've been here in Ely since 2008 and I have noticed that with the first snowfall every year WITHOUT FAIL the local NPR station, which is actually a repeater of KNPR in Las Vegas, goes off the air.

The reason:  No one can get to the facility to reset the overload switches.  Now, mind you, they say they can do that remotely, but it has never worked.

So our first big snowfall, and yep, they're gone.  Weeks later, they're still gone.

Now, this happens to stations all around the country, and most of them do the right thing.  They notify the FCC that they're off the air due to, well, to whatever reason.

But apparently Nevada Public Radio thinks KWPR is exempt from this requirement of EVERY BROADCAST LICENSEE!

From the FCC:

Notifications and Requests for Special Temporary Authority (STA). Stations that go silent should notify Ms. Williams by letter within 10 days of ceasing operation. The letter should include a brief explanation of the reason for ceasing operation and an expected date (if possible) for the station's return to licensed operation. Short periods of discontinued operation (less than 10 days) need not be notified. Tower obstruction lighting must be maintained without interruption during all periods of silence to protect general aviation.
If the station's silent period is expected to last beyond 30 days, Special Temporary Authority is necessary (see 47 CFR 73.1635). Station licensees must submit the STA request (in triplicate) through the Office of the Secretary, FCC, and clearly explain in a cover letter that the request is for silent station authority and is therefore exempt from application filing fees. After review, the staff may grant Special Temporary Authority for a period not exceeding 180 days, but extensions may be approved upon the submission of a new STA request. 

So the request costs them nothing, and the snow will surely thaw by April so the engineer can go up and throw the switch manually.  Yet, they don't do it.

If Nevada Public Radio won't follow FCC Rules and Regulations, the following of which cost them NOTHING, why do they deserve your support?  Better we file for our own license for an LPFM here in Ely and do it ourselves better, eh?

EDITED TO ADD:  A link that explains what stations that go off the air SHOULD do!

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