Boston NPR news station 90.9 WBUR-FM is wading into the Cape Cod resort market and going toe-to-toe with WGBH’s network of stations with its planned purchase of 92.7 WMVY-FM on Martha’s Vineyard. WBUR is buying the Tisbury, Mass.-based station for an undisclosed amount from Housatonic, Mass.-based Aritaur Communications Inc. The sale is expected to close in early 2013 pending FCC approval. Now broadcasting an adult alternative format, WMVY, known as mvyradio, will switch to WBUR’s news format, reaching up to 60,000 listeners with a 3,000-watt signal. The market includes Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and coastal towns including New Bedford, Fall River, Falmouth and Westport. “We believe that the islands, Cape Cod and SouthCoast are important parts of the community we cover and serve,” said WBUR General Manager Charlie Kravetz, in a statement.
Until recently, it seemed that Simon Frech’s squabble with two religious broadcasters over an FM frequency would never end. In 1995, the FCC stopped considering competing applications from noncommercial broadcasters for radio and television frequencies, leaving Frech and many others in bureaucratic limbo. Adding it up
The FCC’s new point system for choosing among noncommercial broadcasters vying for the same frequency will reward several characteristics:
3 points if the applicant is locally based, which the FCC defines as being physically headquartered, having a campus, or having three-fourths of its board members within 25 miles of the community;
2 points if the applicant owns no other local broadcast stations. An applicant that can’t claim this credit but is part of a statewide network providing service to accredited schools can also claim 2 points;
1-2 points to an applicant whose frequency covers significantly more area and population than the next best proposal. “It’s frustrating,” says Frech, g.m. of KMUD in Garberville, Calif., who was about to launch a campaign to persuade the religious broadcasters to back off.
PBS President Ervin Duggan’s strongly worded opposition to advertising created a public rift in the “presidents group” that has been coordinating relations with Congress. In a speech April 11, Duggan said that public TV, if deprived of federal aid, would be tempted to turn to advertising, which he compared to prostitution. The right-wing <em>Washington Times</em> promptly headlined, “PBS chief portrays Republicans as cruel pimps of privatization,” which upset some Republicans including House Appropriations Chairman Robert Livingston (La). “I really can’t discuss this,” CPB President Richard Carlson told the newspaper later, “but we’re trying to do serious work here and I wish people would stop making speeches like this.”
Carlson called Livingston to disassociate himself from Duggan’s remarks, the <em>Times</em> reported, and sent a similar note to the CPB Board. Duggan meanwhile complained to the <em>Times</em> that its reporter had “deliberately distorted” his speech, which “attacked no one” and was not disrespectful.