AM station to shut down at end of May 2019

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kcbooboo
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AM station to shut down at end of May 2019

Post by kcbooboo » Thu May 23, 2019 12:10 pm

An AM station that's been around for probably 60+ years under at least half a dozen callsigns is shutting down at the end of the month. It's owned by a local college.

If they actually do pull the plug and don't get an immediate buyer, what happens to the frequency allocation? They're directional and reduce power at night, so they're protecting some station(s). I would think that it might be possible for another station on the same frequency to change pattern or increase power due to the lack of an interference target. If that happens, wouldn't it preclude the about-to-go-silent station from being put back on the air in the future on the same frequency with the same power and pattern?

It's a shame too, because they just rebuilt their studios in the last few years and the transmitter facility is just loafing along not bothering anyone.

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Re: AM station to shut down at end of May 2019

Post by kkiddkkidd » Thu May 23, 2019 12:50 pm

That is sad.

My 3rd client of all time (and good friend) has decided to pull the plug on his singleton AM June 20th as well.

I begged him to apply for a translator. Turbo found a ND 250w freq but they didn't see any value in a CP. They have had the station on the market for over 2 years with no serious inquiries AND just allowed a prospective buyer to get into a pissing match with the TX property landlord. TX property landlord is a nutcase, drama queen who has now decreed that they vacate the property by July 1 even though her dispute was with a prospective buyer.

After getting a poop storm stirred up, the prospective buyer is no longer interested and has bailed.

I will file a Silent STA for them in hopes that a buyer can be found in the next 12 months and then RIP WXRQ Mt. Pleasant, TN...

WXRQ is a relatively young AM as it was licensed in 1982. I have been doing their work since about 1987.
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Re: AM station to shut down at end of May 2019

Post by TPT » Thu May 23, 2019 5:20 pm

Answering the original post, if the license is actually returned, a co-channel, possibly even a first adjacent, may well be able to apply for a power increase or pattern modification that would limit, if not completely preclude returning that frequency to the air in that town. As a practical matter, in most areas, those stations that might otherwise benefit may find they are restricted in other directions--making any change either of little value or prohibitively expensive in today's AM broadcast environment.

All a case of where and who.

Also, if the license is returned, any attempt to revive it would require the opening of a new AM application window. Which would also require an application for a full-time facility, a daytimer could not be revived.

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Re: AM station to shut down at end of May 2019

Post by w9wi » Thu May 23, 2019 6:48 pm

From context I think he's talking about WQUN-1220 in Connecticut. It's a Class B station - somewhat to my surprise, as it was a daytimer at least in the 1970s.
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Re: AM station to shut down at end of May 2019

Post by Deep Thought » Thu May 23, 2019 11:21 pm

AM stations, unlike FM, are free-range. There is no underlying allocation so once it is gone it is gone. Nobody can come in and 'reactivate' it under current rules. Before Congress got greedy and forced the FCC into the auction window system we have now you could apply for the "former facilities" for up to a year after the station turned in its license. Today with the slim chance of there ever being another new station/major change AM filing window if the station goes dark about the only parties who could take advantage of that are co- and adjacent-channel stations which are currently limited by the facility.
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Re: AM station to shut down at end of May 2019

Post by kcbooboo » Fri May 24, 2019 4:45 am

Yup. The cat's out of the bag. The station currently runs 1kw day, ~300w night, directional, same pattern. They have an AM-1A running the built-in stereo (that's rare these days) with an older RCA BTA-1x as backup. At one time the studios and offices shared the same ranch-style house but when the college bought it they left just the TX in the basement and moved the studios to the campus. They rebuilt their studios with CAT-5 a few years ago and it's a beautiful facility. For some reason the new president of the university decided she didn't want the station, so it goes silent at the end of May and closes everything at the end of June (probably a "fiscal year" thing). They only announced this back in January, so even if a new buyer was interested it would take quite some time to get the license updated.

They had an issue with intermod a few years ago and spent a bunch of money on a Kintronic filter which totally eliminated the mixing signal.

They seem to be shoe-horned between two other stations. The pattern is almost a figure-8 shape protecting stations east and west, according to my old Jim Tonne BCii program. The one to the west could probably increase their signal to the east.

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Re: AM station to shut down at end of May 2019

Post by kcbooboo » Sun Jun 02, 2019 4:50 am

Saturday morning, June 1 2019, the AM band got a bit cleaner as WQUN / 1220 in Hamden CT was not on the air. That frequency has been active since the 1960s and has probably had close to a dozen callsigns through the years. Now I have one less station that needs annual EPMs.

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Re: AM station to shut down at end of May 2019

Post by Bill DeFelice » Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:19 am

I find it sad when a station associated with an academic institution shuts down, especially for their claimed reason of fewer students are interested in broadcasting. When I did my closed campus AM and FM station I had students clamoring to be involved in spite of the fact we were unable to secure a full power spot on the dial. Well, the many missteps of admins both in the school building and the central office facility proved to be the death knell for the project, with me ripping the facilities apart after several years of lying dormant. Now they have nothing like the facility that was built up but they fail to reflect on their own short sightedness on why they have students interested now in new (or old) media.

I enjoyed listening to WQUN and surprised that operating as a commercial station they would have just unplugged it, as I would have assumed that the commercial load would have provided some amount of positive, or less negative, cash flow for its operation.
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Re: AM station to shut down at end of May 2019

Post by Deep Thought » Sun Jun 02, 2019 5:52 pm

With school administrations it is more about internal politics than educational missions, student benefits or even revenue. I suspect someone "up high" simply didn't like it and that was that.
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Re: AM station to shut down at end of May 2019

Post by radio_guru » Mon Jun 03, 2019 5:33 am

It's the money. Plain and simple. Most institutions are cashing out since it takes money, more than many will admit, to operate schools stations. What doesn't appear on station bottom lines are hours and hours of labor by administrators and assistants to manage the stations and their underwriters above the station manager level.

I'm hearing rumblings of another commercial AM station in the Midwest going dark by the end of the month. The lands is more valuable than the license. Where have we heard that before???

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Re: AM station to shut down at end of May 2019

Post by knoxbob » Wed Jun 05, 2019 7:01 pm

The same thing has happened near me. Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tn. has shut down operations of it's AM station and non-comm FM. They have a CP for a translator to go with the AM. I have sent several people in administration there emails asking what they plan on doing with the licenses but have yet to hear back from them.

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Re: AM station to shut down at end of May 2019

Post by TPT » Thu Jun 06, 2019 4:18 pm

Probably need to drive over, and walk in the place if your are interested. Most college administrators are the walking definition of clue-less. They may think they can just sit on the license for a year or so, then sell.

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Re: AM station to shut down at end of May 2019

Post by kkiddkkidd » Thu Jun 06, 2019 5:46 pm

knoxbob wrote:
Wed Jun 05, 2019 7:01 pm
The same thing has happened near me. Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tn. has shut down operations of it's AM station and non-comm FM. They have a CP for a translator to go with the AM. I have sent several people in administration there emails asking what they plan on doing with the licenses but have yet to hear back from them.
Unless this station is like too few other college stations that I have worked for, don't plan on getting a reply until staff comes back for fall classes.

As others have noted, college stations typically have a totally different outlook on broadcasting than do commercial or professionally run non-comms.
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Re: AM station to shut down at end of May 2019

Post by NECRAT » Thu Jun 06, 2019 8:19 pm

Quinipiac University also has a student run class D FM on 98.1, WQAQ. So the college still *has* a radio station, just not the AM.
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Re: AM station to shut down at end of May 2019

Post by kcbooboo » Fri Jun 07, 2019 5:47 am

"Quinipiac University also has a student run class D FM on 98.1, WQAQ. So the college still *has* a radio station, just not the AM."

True, but the AM was a commercial station that ran some network shows and quite a lot of local live shows with real announcers etc, so it could make money legitimately, unlike the non-com FM.

Back in the mid-70s, I was actually the CE at WQAQ for four years. After I left, Tom Osenkowsky took that job. In the early 80s I was the CE at WNHU (University of New Haven) which had gone on the air in the early 70s. After I left, Tom Osenkowsly took that job and he stayed there for some 20-25 years until he retired and, unfortunately passed away a few years ago. It's a small world.

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