A Federal Communications Commission administrative law judge has awarded a new AM broadcast station to Reston Community Broadcast Inc., resulting in the first broadcast station licensed to Reston.
The decision is the culmination of a three-year battle between four groups over the new station, which will broadcast on the 700 AM frequency. The other three groups have 30 days to appeal the ruling by Administrative Law Judge Joseph Stirmer.
The losing parties were Head Hog, WGTS Inc., and Elijah Broadcasting Corp.
Head Hog is a limited partnership with George Starke, a former football player with the Washington Redskins, who wanted to start a station in McLean. WGTS Inc., which sought a license for a College Park station, is a tax-exempt Maryland corporation whose officers are directors of the group that owns the noncommercial educational station WGTS-FM. Elijah Broadcasting Corp. wanted to start a radio station in Walkersville, a small town in Frederick County, Md.
Howard M. Lieberman, an attorney for Head Hog, and Donald Wheeler, general manager of WGTS-FM, said no decision on an appeal had been made. Elijah Broadcasting officials could not be reached for comment.
David J. Matthews, president of Reston Community Broadcast Inc., said he believed that the administrative judge's opinion was so strongly worded that it would discourage any appeals.
An appeal could prolong the process up to three years, according to David D. Oxenford, attorney for the Reston group. Without an appeal, the decision would become effective in 50 days, he said.
Matthews said the station will have an adult contemporary format, with music, a midday talk show, high school sports and local politics. The station is intended to serve Reston, Herndon, Vienna, Oakton and Sterling.
Matthews, who has worked in radio broadcasting for more than a decade and is currently employed by Broadcast Investments Analysis Inc., will be general manager of the new station.
The administrative law judge said that of all the applicants, Reston appeared to have the greatest need.
"While the population disparity between Reston and McLean is not great, it nevertheless appears from the findings that Reston is a growing, self-contained community, has commensurately greater civic, cultural, religious, social and commercial attributes than does McLean, and by virtue of these factors, has greater radio transmission needs than does McLean," said Stirmer