Updated 5/14 -- AUBURN -- New radio station 88.7 WTMI/Fleming has met the required FCC deadlines to commence broadcasting and to file the necessary paperwork to have its construction permit upgraded to a permanent broadcast license. Today, the FCC website was updated to show that WTMI's applications for program test authority and license to cover were both filed on-deadline last week and "accepted for filing" today.
In our earlier coverage last week (full original story below), we had confirmed an anonymous reader tip that WTMI had in fact commenced broadcasting, with a simulcast of the audio feed from the religious EWTN cable television channel.
Since then, one reader on Twitter told us he first heard the new signal as early as April 6. Another CNYRadio.com reader posted a comment (also seen below) concurring with the April start, and also noting that WTMI owner Holy Family Communications hadn't filed for "program test authority," something which is supposed to happen prior to the start of any test broadcasting. Despite that, the FCC website indicates that application for program test authority, and for the final "license to cover" were both submitted on the Construction Permit's May 7 deadline, and officially "accepted for filing" as of today (May 14).
When the FCC says applications have been "accepted for filing," that means the Commission doesn't see any immediate problems with the applications, and will likely issue a final approval within the next few weeks, unless any substantial objections are raised during the intervening public comment period.
AUBURN -- On the western fringe of the Syracuse radio market, a new radio station appears to have taken to the airwaves just in time to meet its construction permit deadline. Holy Family Communications is simulcasting the audio from cable television's EWTN on 88.7FM WTMI/Fleming. But getting a signal on the air before the FCC's deadline is just part of the requirement for a new station to get upgraded to from a construction permit to a full license.
Thanks to a CNYRadio.com reader who wrote in to report discovering the signal after having "accidentally hit the scan button in the car on Saturday." The reader asked if this has been going on for awhile. To the best of our knowledge, no.
Here at CNYRadio.com HQ, we tuned-in the signal this evening and found the signal to be barely audible -- but that's to be expected, considering the station was authorized to broadcast at just 600 watts and the station's 60dBu contour doesn't even reach Syracuse from the transmitter site between Owasco and Skaneateles Lakes.
As reported here in October, the construction permit was originally issued to Tyburn Academy, but the private middle school apparently changed its mind about getting into the radio business, selling the permit to Holy Family Communications for a mere $1,000. The low selling price may have had something to do with the fact that the sales contract didn't include any facilities or equipment -- and the buyer would still have only have about 7 months to get the entire thing built. Construction permits usually carry a 3-year deadline to get a station up and running, and the FCC usually doesn't grant extensions solely due to an ownership transfer.
The deadline for the WTMI construction permit was this past Monday, May 7. Our anonymous reader's report of audio on Saturday means the station apparently completed construction in-time. But as of Thursday evening, WTMI's listing on the FCC website doesn't show any application for a "license to cover." That filing is also expected to be made prior to the deadline. However, the absence of a filing on the FCC website doesn't necessarily mean trouble for the station -- it's possible the filing has been received, but simply hasn't been posted to the website yet.
Holy Family Communications is based in Williamsville, a suburb of Buffalo. According to FCC records, the company also has interests in the following stations:
HOLY FAMILY COMMUNICATIONS IS LICENSEE OF: WLOF (FM), ELMA NY (#31812); WHIC (AM), ROCHESTER NY (#6641); WQOM (AM), NATICK, MA (#21109); PERMITTEE OF: WQHE (FM), OIL CITY, PA (#172337); WMTQ (FM), ELMIRA NY (#175837); NEW, LANCASTER NY (#83428)
We'll be keeping an ear on the station and an eye on the FCC website for any possible developments.
Thanks to the anonymous tipster who reported hearing the new signal on 88.7FM. We're always appreciative for news tips from our readers. If you don't want us to know who you are, just say so when you email firstname.lastname@example.org -- or do as our tipster for this story did, and simply leave your name and email address blank when you fill out our Contact Form.