Students will have to wait a little longer to find out if Bowdoin's WBOR 91.1 FM will stay on the air.
"We're treading on thin ice," said student station manager, Adam Paltrineri '07, "but it hasn't broken yet."
The ice began to thin considerably for WBOR last February when it re-applied for its broadcasting license with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). As a public service station, WBOR is required to make public service announcements (PSAs), such as Red Cross blood drives and natural disaster relief information.
Failure to keep track of the broadcast of these PSAs can result in the radio station being shut down, in the worst-case scenario, instead of getting re-licensed for broadcasting. However, Paltrineri said that although some records were missing, the PSAs were being broadcasted as required.
"We were doing all the public service announcements," he said. "We just weren't writing them down."
Paltrineri promises that the lists have been reconstructed, however, and are available at the Smith Union Information Desk.
To help make its case, WBOR has hired a lawyer, Bowdoin alum David O'Connor '91.
"He's been incredibly helpful," Paltrineri said. "He's been doing research and compiling other cases of stations that may have been fined or warned [for similar offenses], but that were allowed to continue broadcasting."
WBOR submitted a file to the FCC yesterday with a formal response, as well as more than 600 letters the station received from people in the Bowdoin, Brunswick, and surrounding communities expressing their support for the endangered station.
"We even got a letter from the office of Senator Olympia Snowe saying that it's in the public's interest that we get our license renewed," Paltrineri said.
According to Paltrineri, the response acknowledges WBOR's mistake, but states that the mistake has been corrected and will not occur again.
Now that WBOR has aligned its response with community support, and delivered it to the FCC, it's a matter of waiting, Paltrineri said.
If the FCC declines to renew WBOR's license, Paltrineri said that the station would appeal the decision and schedule an FCC hearing. In the meantime, the station would keep broadcasting through its web site.
"If, in the worst case scenario, we get our license taken away, we would continue to webcast online," he said.
"The web already gets our signal across the country and around the world...That doesn't mean we wouldn't try to get our license back in two years though."
Paltrineri believes that the FCC has been pressuring other non-profit, non-commercial stations in the greater area as well.
"A lot of other smaller stations have been contacting us and saying, 'The FCC is coming down hard on us, too,'" he said.
"For whatever reason, they're coming down hard on public service stations and letting stations with money get away with a lot more. But this is questionable because those stations don't provide the community [the] service that we do."