The Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday ordered a hearing to determine whether the owner of Meyersdale WQZS-FM is qualified to stay on the air.
Roger Wahl is CEO and owner of WQZS, a classic rock and oldies station. Seven months ago he was convicted of sexual offenses and placed in a probation program.
These convictions landed him before a license revocation hearing from the commission, aka FCC.
The essential:Radio personality gets restricted probation in sex case
What does the FCC do?
The head of the commission’s media office warned Wahl on Tuesday that he could lose control of WQZS-FM and sent him a written hearing designation order.
An administrative judge will preside over the case. The commission’s media office may revoke any license if conditions are brought to the attention of the office that would justify refusing to grant a license or permit on the original application, according to the FCC.
Among the factors the FCC uses in deciding to revoke a license is “the character of an applicant,” the office’s order reads.
Under the commission’s qualification policy, the commission considers “evidence of any misconduct conviction to constitute a felony”.
Wahl’s guilty plea and conviction for a third degree felony, the criminal use of a means of communication (cell phone), in itself raises the question of whether he is qualified to remain a holder of the license. commission license, according to the bureau.
“Wahl’s multiple tort convictions also support our decision to bring this case up for hearing,” the office wrote. “Reliability is a key element of character necessary to operate a broadcasting station in the public interest.”
The Daily American was unable to reach Wahl by social media or phone for a response.
The commission’s media office decided to have written hearings, a report and an order, rather than hearings in a judicial setting, on the basis that it “considers this to be a appropriate case for the use of these procedures because the criminal proceedings are a final decision and the minutes of the proceedings contain an explanation of the factual basis of Wahl’s guilty pleas. “
What has Roger Wahl been accused of?
On July 8, 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, unlawfully disseminating a intimate image and tampering with evidence.
Wahl told the court that the following facts were true at the time of his plea. He admitted to taking nude photos of a woman inside his home using a concealed camera installed in his bathroom.
He also said he impersonated the woman on an online dating site, sending the nude photos of the woman to at least one man and asking that man to have sex with the woman without his. consent and without her knowing it.
When Wahl became aware of a State Police investigation into the case, he deleted the nude photos of the woman from his cell phone, as well as the communications he had made through the online dating site. .
On November 16, 2020, he pleaded guilty to identity theft, a first degree misdemeanor. A charge of invasion of privacy was withdrawn.
He was placed on probation for three years including the first four months under electronic surveillance upon his conviction, also on November 16, 2020.
Meyersdale Radio Station is one of the few small market stations in southwestern Pennsylvania that has live, local, real-time on-air staff.
WQZS is also the only stand-alone FM radio station in Somerset County. The station is located at 128 Hunsrick Road in Meyersdale. The station towers are found atop Mount Davis, Pennsylvania’s highest point.
Wahl hosts the radio station’s morning show, where he is known as “The Commander”. It provides things like news, daily school menus, and events. The station often broadcasts old school radio shows. WQZS does business as Target Broadcasting, Inc.
Wahl has the opportunity to be heard by filing a written appearance within 20 days of sending the order designating the hearing.
Follow Judy DJ Ellich on Twitter at @dajudye.