Calvary Chapel: The Decentralized Christian Clear Channel

John does some more digging into the various Calvary Chapels that are putting together what look like turn-key radio networks, partially built from translators purchased from Edgewater/Radio Assist Ministry:

Unlike the Calvary Chapels of Twin Falls and Costa Mesa, which had to grow their networks over time by applying for more and more FM stations when they could, Calvary Chapel of Fort Lauderdale and Horizon Christian Fellowship are buying their reach via an intermediary corporation whose founding alumni once worked for Calvary Chapel of Twin Falls, an originator of the FM signal proliferation strategy. …

Then there’s the zinger: the person working the FCC filings for at least two Calvary Chapel radio entities is the sitting president of the Federal Communications Bar Association.

John points out that Calvary Chapel of Fort Lauderdale, aka Reach Communications, is not the same Calvary Chapel as Costa Mesa or Twin Falls, which operate the CSN radio network. Apparently incorrectly, Monday I connected Reach with Costa Mesa/Twin Falls. Of course, with all these entities using the Calvary Chapel “brand” (as John calls it), it sure gets difficult to tell the players apart — especially when they’re mostly carrying the same programming.

The important thing to keep in mind when looking at these huge numbers of translator stations is that they are essentially low-power FM stations that are permitted to be squeezed on the dial closer than actual LPFM stations, even though, technically, there’s no difference between them.

Thus, FCC rules and federal law permit there to be more satellite-driven non-local low-power FM translator stations than locally-programmed non-commercial LPFM stations.

Indeeed, there are three licensed FM translator stations in the Champaign, IL area, and one application pending from Calvary Chapel of Twin Falls, ID. Yet, our area has just one LPFM license, which we almost didn’t get as a result of Congress’ evisceration of the service in 2000.

What about your community?