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FCC Cancels “La Indiscreta” Licenses in Phoenix

Licensee failed to renew an STA while continuing to broadcast on translator

The FCC has canceled the licenses of Radio Hogar’s 1540 KASA(AM) in Phoenix, Ariz., as well as its FM translator.

KASA ran a Spanish-language classic regional Mexican format with brokered programming, using the moniker “La Indiscreta.”

The FCC said the company had failed to extend an STA. The translator also was found to be originating programming while the AM was off the air.

Additionally, a complaint had been filed by Entravision for interference to a same-channel full-power signal, 106.7 KFUE, licensed to Buckeye 31 miles west of the KASA translator site.

Until 2019, KASA’s AM had broadcast from a site on Baseline Road in the South Mountain Village section of Phoenix. According to the commission, the company then sold most of its tower land, which became the site of a charter school.

Radio Hogar received special temporary authority to transmit at reduced power from a nearby location, and the FCC extended the STA five times. But the STA expired in September 2022, and the company failed to apply to renew it until this April. Meanwhile, in 2021, KASA added its 106.7 translator.

Last fall, Entravision moved KFUE (then KDVA) from 106.9 to 106.7. Soon after, it filed an interference complaint with the commission containing 28 complaints of interference from the KASA translator, occurring within its station’s 45 dBu contour, the threshold at which the commission considers translator interference complaints.

Entravision also filed an informal objection, stating that KASA had been operating either silent without authority or from an unauthorized location for more than a year, which should result in cancellation of KASA’s licenses. And it said KASA’s translator had continued operations even though there was no source to rebroadcast.

The Media Bureau sent a letter of inquiry in February. In response, Radio Hogar admitted that it had operated from its STA site without authority and that the AM had been off the air in part of 2023 and again earlier this year.

It defended the solo operation of its translator by stating that it is “one of very few independent, Hispanic-owned stations in the market providing Spanish-language programming to the market’s minority population.” It argued that what was going out over the 106.7 signal would have been heard over its AM station regardless.

The commission did not buy the argument and declined to issue a new STA. It said the translator had caused interference to KFUE, itself a Spanish-language station. It found “no merit to the suggestion that the bureau’s prior approval of the STA site somehow allowed the licensee to continue operations from that location after the 2022 STA expired.”

The FCC added that while it has recognized the benefits of programming to minority populations, “such benefits do not outweigh the commission’s statutory responsibility to prevent unauthorized broadcasts.”

Additional evidence was provided by observer Raymie Humbert, who sampled the station’s translator broadcasting original programming and documented interference to KFUE on April 10, while the AM was silent. Humbert sent audio recordings to the commission.

The FCC now has canceled the primary AM and the FM translator. Radio Hogar must continue to maintain its tower structures until they are dismantled.

(Read the commission’s decision.)