Divine intervention axes school station


By Jaclyn Pelletier/ Beacon Villager
Wednesday, October 19, 2005 - Updated: 01:55 PM EST

Today's lesson: Don't cross Christian broadcasting.

Maynard High School's radio frequency, 91.7 FM, is being seized by a network of Christian broadcasting stations that the Federal Communications Commission has ruled is a better use of the public airwaves.

"People are furious," said faculty adviser Joe Magno.

Maynard High's WAVM, which has been broadcasting from the school for 35 years, found itself in this David vs. Goliath battle when it applied to increase its transmitter signal from 10 to 250 watts.

According to Magno, that "opens the floodgates for any other station to challenge the station's license and take its frequency."

Using a point scale that considers such factors as audience size, the FCC ruled the Christian broadcasting network the better applicant. WAVM is given 30 days to appeal, and has done so.

If the FCC refuses to overturn its decision, WAVM will fall silent.

"The little guy does not stand much of a chance. Legally, we don't have a leg to stand on," Magno said.

Although WAVM applied for the power increase five years ago, the group just heard about the outcome of the application process and were told the frequency was designated to another applicant.

Maynard school Superintendent Mark Masterson has written a letter of appeal to the FCC and sent copies of it to every federal representative decrying the decision.