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FCC Declines to Reinstate WALO-LP License

WASHINGTON—The Federal Communications Commission told proprietors of a low-power TV station that “no” means “no.” The commission has denied a petition for reconsideration filed by Spirit Productions of Tequesta, Fla., to vacate the decision cancelling the analog license and digital construction permit for WALO-LP in West Palm Beach, Fla., and deleting the call sign. The FCC’s Video Division cancelled the license Feb. 20, 2013.

FCC records indicate that WALO-LP had been operating on Ch. 53, which was auctioned off to wireless providers in the digital transition. All LPTVs were required to cease operating on these out-of-core frequencies by Dec. 31, 3011.

After filing a displacement application on Dec. 17, 2009, the station was assigned a license at Ch. 44. Records indicate that WALO went silent on Ch. 53 on Sept. 30, 2011, in accordance with the out-of-core requirement. However, the record indicates that WALO illegally fired up its Ch. 53 transmitter again on Sept. 24, 2012, while Ch. 44 remained dark. The FCC pulled WALO’s license.

Spirit filed its petition March 22, 2013, saying that it was “unaware of the necessity to cease broadcasting on Ch. 53 by Dec. 31, 2011.” The company argued that a fine would be more appropriate than the license cancellation.

“Lack of knowledge or ignorance of a commission order or action is not an excuse for failing to abide by it,” the commission said.

“We have carefully considered Spirit’s petition and conclude that no basis exists for granting reconsideration of our previous decision,” it stated. “Sec. 312(g) provides that the license of a broadcasting station that fails to transmit broadcast signals for any consecutive 12-month period expires automatically at the end of that period.”