Commission Denies Permit Tolling Request Alleging CDBS Hacking and Gender Discrimination

Posted on April 29th, 2016 by

The holder of a construction permit for a new AM station that had already been tolled two years has been denied a request for further tolling based on, among other things, allegations of CDBS and FRN account hacking, along with gender discrimination. We thought these arguments novel enough to give them some space here.

Apparently, the permit holder’s CDBS and FRN information was somehow accessed and used to file various FM translator applications that were not authorized. These became the subject of a lawsuit in Utah. The flaw in this argument? Well, the applicant admitted that its principal’s husband might have had some role in the “hacking” since he knew answers to personal security questions for the account numbers.

But that didn’t matter, of course, and the applicant went so far as to blame the Commission staff for releasing certain codes, even amongst the claims of hacking. This “hacking” scheme deterred the applicant from timely filing for a license application for the AM permit, in fear that the application would be hijacked by the hackers.

But wait, there’s more. The applicant also claimed gender-biased discrimination because the FCC had previously denied various applications of the applicant’s principal, a female. No other evidence was provided.

Interesting arguments, to be sure, but ultimately unpersuasive. The FCC thought so, pointing to the unverified nature of the petition and its allegations, dismissing it as speculation, and upholding the Media Bureau’s initial determination that tolling was not warranted.

Still curious? For a complete review of the drama, you can read the full decision here, including its interesting footnotes.