Translator Invasion Freeze Petition Filed

Today REC Networks, Prometheus Radio Project, and a gaggle of D.C. media advocacy groups filed an emergency petition with the FCC for a freeze on the processing of translator applications from 2003. That was the application window in which 13,000+ applications were filed, of which 4,000+ were part of a scheme to provide turnkey radio networks to religious broadcasters.
The petition reports that World Radio Link, Inc. is apparently the marketing arm of the scheme. It advertised prominently at the National Religious Broadcasters annual convention last month that it
[r]epresents the two largest filers of FM translator applications in the FCC’s most recent FM filing window. These two applicants, Radio Assist Ministry and Edgewater Broadcasting, are making available for acquisition hundreds of these FM translator station construction permits to existing or new entrant Christian broadcasters throughout the country.
All three principals behind World Radio Link – Clark Parrish, Earl Williamson, and Diana Atkin – are the same people listed as the officers of Edgewater Broadcasting and Radio Assist Ministry. RAM not only now has a web site, but it includes a map of “translator applications that have been granted or we expect to be granted soon.”
Ultimately the petition alleges Parrish, Williamson, and Atkin fraudulently applied for FM translator construction permits and upset long-standing FCC prohibitions on naked speculation and trafficking involving such permits. It seeks an immediate freeze on the processing of pending applications and asks the FCC to review the transactions that have already taken place. It also notes,
The widespread nature of the conduct by Parrish, Williamson and Atkin, and the general failure of the Commission’s safeguards to prevent them from trafficking raises the suspicion that the rules governing this application window were insufficient to prevent wholesale abuse by other applicants as well.
The timing of the filing is politically-motivated: the petitioners hope outgoing FCC chairman Mikey Powell can be pressured into fixing this mess, which happened on his watch, before he leaves office this month.
In addition to the filing development, I’ve gleaned some more details. Atkin or Williamson may be a proxy for another interest who could not be listed on any corporate boards due to some (unspecified) character qualification issue. The lawyer who represents Edgewater/RAM in its filings with the FCC is Dawn Sciarrino, who runs her own law firm exclusively devoted to FCC business. Having Harry C. Martin involved in the multiple Calvary Chapel-specific deals certainly couldn’t have hurt their approval chances. And a bit of trivia: Calvary Chapel of Twin Falls holds the license to the only FM translator operating on 87.9 Mhz in the country. 34-watt K200AA “serves” Sun Valley, Nevada.