You Shall Not Bear False Witness

During a recent regional convention of members of the National Religious Broadcasters there was a session called “LPFM Boot Camp” for people with new LPFM stations or license applications in-progress. From all reports the panel was expertly organized and moderated, with plenty of helpful technical and legal advice given to all.
But problems lurked in the room. It seemed that several “Boot Camp” attendees – some affiliated with already-notorious translator networks – openly admitted that they had lied on their LPFM license applications.
There’s hundreds of cases where multiple groups have applied for the same LPFM frequency in a community, and the FCC has a procedure to pick the licensee from competing applicants. In simple terms, it’s a system of points: if you pledge to meet specific criteria in the operation of your LPFM station, you award yourself points on your application. The applicant who has the most points wins.
One of the things you can get points for is promising to provide eight hours of locally-originated programming per day. While many of the LPFM broadcasters-to-be at the “Boot Camp” had made that promise (and awarded themselves a point for on their applications for it), they had no intention of following through.
In many cases, these religious applicants were the only ones in their community to file for an LPFM license. In their minds, they “took the point” on their LPFM application just in case there was some other group who filed a competing application. In many cases, there was no other group to apply, which means they would’ve been awarded the license anyway.
That doesn’t make their promise to provide local programming less important. On top of that was some serious talk about the boundaries of the FCC’s underwriting rules, which too sounded decidedly un-Christian.
This is not a blanket indictment of religious LPFM stations, or religious broadcasting for that matter: freedom of speech applies equally. I’d just hope that all those who feel compelled to spread their gospel try at least living it first.