Saturday, December 4, 2021

PA Radio: FCC Sets Hearing For Roger Wahl's Station License

Roger Wahl
A day after the Federal Communications Commission terminated the Meyersdale-based WQZS 93.3 FM owner's hearing, it has rescinded the termination, reports The Daily American.

The FCC initially claimed that Roger Wahl, owner and founder of the oldies and classic rock station, did not file a written appearance in time allotted stating that he would appear at a designated hearing before the commission to present evidence on the issues. Presiding FCC Administrative Law Judge Jane Halprin stated in an order issued Thursday, however, that she learned a day later that Wahl had submitted an appearance via certified mail Nov. 11.

He also attempted to file his appearance with the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System that serves as the repository for official records on the same date, according to the FCC's new order.

This was well within the timeframe of Nov. 8 to Nov. 29 opened for his response about the FCC hearing. FCC officials indicated that Wahl applied incorrectly, which is why it appeared that he had not responded.

"The termination order will therefore be rescinded and this hearing proceeding restored to pending status," Halprin wrote.

Wahl, the station owner as well as a disc jockey, pled guilty last year to secretly taking nude photographs of a woman inside her home using a concealed camera that had been installed in her bathroom. According to court documents, he also impersonated the woman on an online dating site, sent nude photos of the woman to at least one man whom he connected with through that site and solicited that man to have sexual relations with the woman without her consent.

Initially, Wahl also pleaded guilty to invasion of privacy; after learning that that charge would require him to register as a sex offender, however, he withdrew that guilty plea and instead pled guilty to identity theft. He was sentenced to three years of probation, four months of electronic monitoring, and was required to pay $600 in fines as well as the costs of his prosecution and supervision.

In 2020, Wahl pleaded guilty and four months later was placed in a three-year probationary sentence for the 2019 offenses of criminal use of a communication facility, a third-degree felony, and lesser-graded misdemeanors of recklessly endangering another person, unlawful dissemination of an intimate image and tampering with evidence.

Among the factors that could revoke a license is "evidence of any conviction for misconduct constitution a felony," according to the FCC's initial order.

WQZS being sold?

Wendy Sipple, Wahl's daughter, has a pending $10 deal to buy WQZS from her father. The FCC's media bureau put a hold on the sale of the station noting, that it did so because Wahl’s convictions raise questions under the commission’s character qualifications policy statement about whether he possesses the requisite qualifications to remain a commission licensee.

Sipple filed a motion with the FCC to intervene Nov. 29 as the prospective assignee of the station. In the initial order Halprin stated in her order that because the hearing proceeding was terminated, Sipple's motion will be "dismissed as moot."

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