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Call letter approval

Posted: Sun Jun 13, 2021 10:13 pm
by amradiosound
If an AM or FM station wants call letters which are already on an LPFM signal, do they still need to get written permission before the FCC will consider the call letter change application? It seems like I see a good number of LPFM signals which have similar calls to full power broadcast stations even though they are obviously not co-owned. For example, if there is a WEEE-LPFM, would an AM or FM station in another market need to get approval from the LPFM just as they would a regular AM or FM station? I know on the commercial band people have purchased call letters from other stations but that’s not what I’m talking about in this case. Hope that makes sense. Thank you for any insight on this matter. I did try looking it up in the FCC rules but couldn’t find anything.

Re: Call letter approval

Posted: Mon Jun 14, 2021 6:39 am
by TPT
Yes. I worked with a church owned LPFM a couple years back when they were approached by the attorney for a Florida station wanting permission to use the same call sign. That company made a donation to the church, the church signed off on a permission letter. FCC granted the change to the Florida station.

The FCC database (the CSRS), however, is not always up-to-date. When we split off one of our FM's to go classic rock, I found the call "WXCR" seemed to be available, even though the call sign reservation system indicated it was not. CSRS had the call listed for a NY station, but other places in the FCC records showed a different call for that station. We finally had to have DC counsel walk over & get our request approved.

Re: Call letter approval

Posted: Mon Aug 02, 2021 2:04 pm
by knoxbob
Speaking of Call Letters I saw a station located in Oklahoma. WWLS, of course it is west of the Mississippi and there are some long time stations with calls beginning with a "W" out west but these calls were changed in 2006. Has the FCC relaxed those restrictions recently?

Re: Call letter approval

Posted: Mon Aug 02, 2021 7:05 pm
by TPT
Don't recall the details, but sometime in the 80's the section about where W and K calls were located was accidentally deleted from the CFR.
I remember at the time a college station in Michigan applied for and was granted a "K" call. Probably the Oklahoma station took advantage of the same loophole. WWLS was originally granted to 640 in Moore, Oklahoma (suburb of OK City) in 1981 according to The call has migrated around several Oklahoma stations since--probably all under the same ownership.

Re: Call letter approval

Posted: Tue Aug 03, 2021 7:44 am
by w9wi
There's multiple reasons for "wrong side of the Mississippi" call letter inconsistencies.

Most of the W calls in the West stem from a change in the dividing line. The line was initially the western borders of the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. That explains calls like WDAY, WDAF, WFAA, WBAP, and WOAI. (among others)

640 at Moore was initially owned by the University of Oklahoma at Norman and held the calls WNAD. Apparently that's why the FCC let them change to a different W callsign.

Re: Call letter approval

Posted: Fri Aug 06, 2021 8:45 am
by Jim Sofonia
My favorite, a station I listened to, was KYW 1100 of Cleveland. I never understood the fcc orders to move the station to Philadelphia.

Re: Call letter approval

Posted: Fri Aug 06, 2021 10:38 am
by w9wi
In 1955 Westinghouse traded their Philadelphia stations to NBC for NBC's Cleveland stations.

Westinghouse felt the trade was coerced -- that NBC threatened to pull their affiliation from the Philadelphia station and WBZ-TV Boston if Westinghouse didn't make the swap.

The FCC (and DOJ) were listening. In 1964 NBC's Philadelphia licenses were renewed contingent on the swap being "undone".

The reason KYW was in Philadelphia in the first place is also a bit interesting. The station was originally in Chicago. The Federal Radio Commission felt Chicago had too many stations -- and Philadelphia not enough. Westinghouse finally agreed in 1934 to move KYW to Philly.