Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now


FCC Dismisses Objection, Grants Texas AM License Renewal

The filed objection claimed KHTW had been silent for four years

The Federal Communications Commission has granted KHTW(AM) a one-year license renewal — instead of the usual eight-year term — following an objection about the station’s extended silence.

KHTW in Lumberton, Texas was under investigation by the FCC Media Bureau after an objection was filed claiming the station had been silent for the past four years.

The objection, filed by Robert L. Coyle Jr., said KHTW’s license renewal application should be denied as the licensee, Carlos Lopez, was not in compliance with FCC rules. Under the Telecommunications Act, if a station fails to operate for 12 consecutive months, it automatically is supposed to lose its license.

This objection was dismissed by the Media Bureau following its review of documentation of station operations, which was submitted by the licensee.

Lopez argues that KHTW has not been silent for four years, as asserted by Coyle. Lopez said he purchased the station in 2019 and has since experienced “operational challenges,” including “destructive weather, poor quality of electrical service to the transmitter site and general disrepair of the station’s equipment.”

[See Our Business and Law Page]

In his response to the commission’s Letter of Inquiry, the FCC said Lopez provided substantial evidence of his efforts to repair the transmitter site and return to the air, including copies of bills from electric power and internet service providers. He also included photographs and receipts for station repairs, the FCC said.

Further, Lopez said the station has been on the air intermittently, was last on the air on Nov. 1, 2021, and has never been silent for 12 consecutive months.

“We find no merit in Coyle’s claim that [KHTW] was silent for four years because Coyle
provides no specific dates or supporting evidence to substantiate his allegation,” said the FCC in its comments.

However, while the bureau rejected Coyle’s request to deny the station a license renewal altogether, KHTW was still only granted a shortened, one-year renewal, having been discovered to be silent for extended periods of time.

The FCC said KHTW was silent at the time its license was assigned, having gone silent on Jan. 20, 2019, until Jan. 6, 2020, and then again from Nov. 11, 2021, to July 30, 2022.

“The station is presently operating with reduced power,” said the FCC in its memorandum. “Accordingly, we find that the station was silent for over 8% of its license term under [Lopez], and 30% of its extended term under 307(c)(3) of the Act.

“Although the station sought commission authorization for its periods of silence, we cannot find that the station served the public interest, convenience and necessity during the license term due to its extended periods of non-operation.”

The Media Bureau will allow KHTW to apply for a one-year license renewal. The FCC says the station’s term will expire on October 14, 2023, and a renewal application will be due June 1, 2023.

Coyle had also argued that the station was not in compliance with rules for online public inspection files, but the FCC dismissed that. Instead, KHTW agreed to a consent decree similar to the ones the FCC has put in place for many other broadcasters, under which it will adopt a compliance plan.” 

[Sign Up for Radio World’s SmartBrief Newsletter]