Friday, February 02, 2007

Los Angeles FM Station Files Petition to Deny Sirius

On January 05, 2007, Mt. Wilson FM Broadcasters , FM broadcast station KMZT in Los Angeles, CA, filed a petition to deny Sirius' application to operate repeaters in Alaska and Hawaii.

In the petition to deny, Mt. Wilson more or less claims standing because they compete with Sirius in the LA area, even though they can't be possibly affected by these repeaters.

Mt. Wilson claims that the repeaters are not used to augment the satellite service in these areas but rather to provide service where the satellite radio signal is not available, which is not within the FCC rules. They claim that Alaska and Hawaii are "primarily or wholly outside of the footprint of its satellite" and that Sirius has "few if any subscribers in those states" because there is "no satellite signal in those states".

On January 18, 2007, Sirius fired back with its response, first rightfully claiming that Mt. Wilson does not have standing and failed to file paperwork demonstrating that it is a party-in-interest. A petitioner must be a party-in-interest in order to file. In addition, Sirius as one might expect points out the obvious that the Mt. Wilson radio service in Los Angeles could not possibly be harmed by granting its application.

This is interesting. Sirius goes on to point out that its service area, in fact, covers Alaska and Hawaii. In case one has doubts to the meaning of this, Sirius goes on to say, "Sirius has no plans to provide terrestrial service that is 'separate and independent' of its satellite DARS service." ..."As the application explains, operation of the proposed terrestrial repeaters is intended to improve reception of satellite DARS by residents in Alaska and Hawaii". In a footnote, Sirius explains, "Though Sirius' satellites are not focused over Alaska or Hawaii, satellite beam patterns do not conform to state boundaries, and Sirius customers today receive satellite radio service in each state." We have to admit that this may be stretching it with regards to Hawaii; however, the signal, as most of you know, is readily available in Alaska.

Using similar language as used here before, Sirius says that "Mt. Wilson and NAB want to turn the residents of the 49th and 50th States into second-class citizens". That is exactly the outcome in denying the good citizens of these states something better than the mediocre services currently available.

They call NAB's claim that repeaters "in the Aloha State and The Last Frontier are not permissible" as nonsense.

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