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Alvin Lou Media, Inc. v. FCC
United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
571 F.3d 1 (2009)
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) (defendant) was charged with distributing broadcast licenses in a fair and equitable way. Because only one license could be granted for each frequency to avoid radio interference, the FCC would hold a competitive-bidding process for applications competing for the same frequency. All applicants were required to submit a preliminary application certifying they were qualified to hold a license. If multiple applicants were qualified for the license, the FCC would hold an auction. The FCC would then conduct a full technical review to ensure the winner bidder qualified for the license. Alvin Lou Media, Inc. (Alvin Lou) (plaintiff) and Powell Meredith Communications Company (Powell) applied for the same radio frequency to operate in the Las Vegas area. The FCC prepared to hold an auction, which Alvin Lou objected to. Alvin Lou argued that Powell’s application was technically deficient and should be dismissed before the auction so Alvin Lou would not have to bid against an invalid applicant. Alvin Lou requested that the FCC conduct a technical review of Powell’s application before the auction. The FCC denied Alvin Lou’s petition because of the FCC policy to not conduct technical reviews until after an auction. Alvin Lou declined to participate in the auction. Powell won the auction, and Alvin Lou petitioned the FCC again. The FCC denied Alvin Lou’s petition, and Alvin Lou appealed. The FCC moved to dismiss the appeal, arguing that Alvin Lou lacked standing.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Rogers, J.)
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