WXEL Community Members Fight To Keep WXEL Local

WXEL community members put up a first rate effort to keep WXEL local at the Board of Education meeting in Miami December 17. About a dozen people from the WXEL community spoke at the meeting, urging the Board to deny the transfer because Classical South Florida is local in name only.

All arguments fell on deaf ears. The Board of Education completely sidestepped the license transfer issue. Instead, the Board chose to address and vote on the very narrow issue of approval of Barry’s request to sublease part of the WXEL building Classical South Florida for one year. They unanimously approved the sublease, leaving one final obstacle for Classical South Florida to acquire WXEL radio — FCC approval.

At the end of December, Barry filed an application with the FCC to transfer the WXEL FM license. That gives opponents just 30 days — until January 28 — to make their case.

The FCC does solicit public input as part of its license transfer/renewal process. If interested in participating in the public comment process, contact WXEL CAB Vice-chair Joan Starr at 561.392.5911.

3 comments to WXEL Community Members Fight To Keep WXEL Local

  • Victoria

    IMPORTANT UPDATE ***Your letter of objection must be signed and it should be mailed to the FCC address below no later than January 24.***

    DO IT NOW!

    The FCC wants to know what you think about Barry University’s request to transfer the license of WXEL FM to Classical South Florida. In the FCC’s own words, they want to hear from anyone who has “more than a passing interest in the station….” That means YOU!!

    A sample letter is included below. However, PLEASE write a letter in your own words — those tend to be more effective.
    [Date]

    WXEL FM Boynton Beach, FL
    FCC Facility ID 61084
    Application file number BALED-20101228AAS

    Re: Informal objection to the application to transfer WXEL FM

    Dear Secretary Dortch,

    As a regular listener and viewer of WXEL radio and TV and as a financial supporter of the stations, I object to the proposed license transfer of WXEL FM 90.7 to Classical South Florida for three reasons.

    1. Classical South Florida, a Florida nonprofit corporation, is a wholly owned subsidiary of American Public Media Group (APMG), a nonprofit company based in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Given its child-parent relationship with APMG, Classical South Florida appears to be local in name only. In fact, all of Classical South Florida’s on-air commentators live in Minnesota!
    2. Classical South Florida seeks to acquire the license to WXEL FM alone and has no plans for WXEL TV.
    3. Classical South Florida broadcasts classical music exclusively.

    I support local license holders, board members, and staff for our public radio and TV stations. I do not support the splitting of the stations for any purpose. I support programming that reflects the diverse needs and interests of the Palm Beach County and Treasure Coast communities, namely local programming, news, education, and other genres of music .

    The following factors also influenced my decision.

    APMG borrowed $20 million to purchase its current station, WKCP 89.7 FM in Miami, and intends to borrow $4 million more to acquire WXEL FM. Granting WXEL FM to an organization carrying so much debt is unwise because it would siphon funds out of our community for years, squelching the opportunity to produce local programming. Such a debt would also burden our station with a good chance for failure.

    Classical South Florida’s bid calls for offering employment to seven WXEL employees and for leasing office space at WXEL studios for one year. Splitting the radio and TV staff will effectively kill the TV station because of the current cost-sharing benefit derived from many of the 27 WXEL employees working for both radio and TV. I am concerned that Classical South Florida’s presence in WXEL studios will end after the one-year lease expires, effectively moving WXEL FM management outside of the WXEL service area.

    APMG subsidiary Classical South Florida is dedicated to broadcasting classical music only. Its program schedule includes broadcasts of classical programs such as Performance Today, SymphonyCast, Pipedreams, and Saint Paul Sunday. I respect the quality of Classical South Florida’s programming. However, an all-classical format comprised of national and Minnesota-related programs does not reflect the diverse needs and interests of the Palm Beach County and Treasure Coast communities.

    I respectfully request that the FCC reject Barry’s application to grant Classical South Florida the WXEL FM license. If localism and the needs and interests of the community still mean anything at the FCC, I don’t see how you could ever approve this application.

    Sincerely,

    [Your signature]
    [Your name]

    Address your letter to:
    Marlene Dortch, Esq., Secretary
    Federal Communications Commission
    445 12th Street SW
    Washington, D.C. 20554

    ATTN: Audio Division, License Renewal Processing Team, Mail Stop 1800B

    It was shown in the sample letter. It is VERY IMPORTANT that onthe first page of your letter you put:
    WXEL Boynton Beach FL
    FCC Facility ID 61084
    Application file number BALED-20101228AAS

    If you have any questions or need any help with your informal objection, please contact WXEL CAB Vice-chair Joan Starr at 561.392.5911(Boca) or Pablo del Real
    561.901.3467

    ###

    ==================
    Contacts:
    Pablo del Real
    WXEL CAB Chair
    561.901.3467

    Joan Starr
    WXEL CAB Vice-Chair
    561.392.5911

  • Thanks for publishing this, Victoria. If the FCC doesn’t hear from the community, they will assume there is no community.

    It would be great to see a copy of your own personal letter here as an example from an engaged community member.

  • Victoria

    Here it is Pablo:

    26 January 2011

    WXEL FM Boynton Beach, FL
    FCC Facility ID 61084
    Application file number BALED-20101228AAS

    Re: Informal objection to the application to transfer WXEL FM

    Dear Secretary Dortch,

    The needs and interests of the LOCAL communities must still mean something at the FCC!

    I strongly object to the proposed license transfer of WXEL FM 90.7 to Classical South Florida, a Florida nonprofit corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Public Media Group (APMG), a nonprofit company based in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Will this Minnesota- based company understand the uniqueness of Florida? I believe not..

    Having lived in this community over 50 years, I know first hand the importance of having a local radio and television station together. Local programming, news, education, and different genres of music are now available to us, of Palm Beach County and Treasure Coast communities; the regular listeners and viewers of WXEL radio and TV and financial supporter of the stations.

    I have great reservations about Classical South Florida under the control of a Minnesota based APMG continuing to do this.

    As an accountant, the CFO of our company Castello Cities Internet Network, Inc. I look with dismay that APMG borrowed $20 million to purchase its current station, KCP 89.7 FM in Miami, and intends to borrow $4 million more to acquire WXEL FM.

    Granting WXEL FM to an organization carrying so much debt is unwise because it would siphon funds out of our community for years, squelching the opportunity to produce local programming. Such a debt would also burden our station with a good chance for failure.

    I respectfully request that the FCC reject Barry’s application to grant Classical South Florida the WXEL FM license.

    Sincerely,

    Victoria Castello

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