FCC revokes Wahl’s opportunity for license retention hearing


Roger Wahl, owner and founder of Meyersdale radio station WQZS-FM, missed an opportunity to argue for his station’s continued license before the Federal Communications Commission.

Now the FAC is moving forward without a hearing where the struggling radio personality could have made his plea because he did not respond in the time allotted to him to do so.

The FCC is a federal agency responsible for the implementation and enforcement of national communications laws and regulations for radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable.

FCC administrative law judge Jane Halprin issued a termination order on Wednesday.

“Because Mr. Wahl failed to file the required notice of appearance or other authorized pleadings, his right to a hearing in this matter was deemed to have waived,” she wrote.

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Wahl received the Notice of Hearing and its deadlines on October 19. The order was mailed the same day, giving Wahl 20 days to file a written response in response. The order was extended on November 8 after it was discovered that the original postcode for Wahl’s mailing address was incorrect. He then had until November 29 to respond. He didn’t, according to the order.

The case is now at the next stage of the process: “certified by commission”.

What this means is unknown as there may be another opportunity for Wahl to address the committee on this matter.

The final judgment has not been delivered. Once done, Wahl may have the opportunity to appeal an unfavorable decision. There are time limits for these actions.

How it started

WQZS was founded by Wahl in October 1992 as a retro and classic rock station sending signals from Mount Davis in Somerset County, the highest point in the state.

The station has played an important role in local communities, particularly with Wahl’s morning show where he often interviews locals to discuss their plans and cover events that include various county festivals.

He goes by his radio personality name, “The Commander”.

The legal problem

Wahl was charged in 2019 with offenses relating to secretly implanting a camera in a former girlfriend’s bathroom and creating a fake online dating profile where he solicited men to sexually assault the woman.

In July 2020, Wahl pleaded guilty to criminal use of a means of communication, which is a third degree felony, and less serious offenses of recklessly endangering another person, illegally distributing an image. intimate and tampering with evidence.

In November 2020, he was placed on probation for three years with the first four months under electronic surveillance upon his conviction. Wahl was banned from airing while under house arrest.

These convictions landed him before a commission revocation hearing.

The commission’s media office has the ability to revoke any license based on factors that include “an applicant’s character, according to the FCC.

Among the factors the FCC uses in deciding whether to revoke a license is “the character of an applicant,” which includes “proof of any misconduct conviction constituting a felony,” according to a prior order from the FCC.

“Reliability is a key character necessary to operate a broadcasting station in the public interest,” the order continued.

A failed attempt

Wahl had applied for the reassignment of the station’s license to his daughter, Wendy Sipple, who helped with the business. The FCC granted this request on June 1 of last year.

His guilty plea in county court just over a month later changed the FCC’s decision and suspended the reassignment of the license, according to federal agency documents.

Sipple filed a motion to intervene on November 29 as the station’s future assignee.

“Due to the closure of these hearing proceedings, this motion will be dismissed as moot,” Halprin wrote.

Follow Judy DJ Ellich on Twitter at @dajudye


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