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FCC Shoots Down Texas FM’s Proposed Move

Commission says "relocation would not serve the interest of the community”

If an FM radio station in Texas wants to move its signal down the road it will have to provide the FCC a better reason for wanting to do so. 

KIJN(FM) in Farwell, Texas, is a class C FM broadcasting on 92.3 MHz. The licensee, Top O’ Texas Educational Broadcasting Foundation (TOTEBF), is requesting a minor change to relocate the station’s transmitter site to a new tower location, height and effective radiated power, and to change the station’s city of license to Umbarger, Texas. The FCC is asking for additional evidence in support of the proposed modification.

The station is 100,000 watts and currently carries the religious format Kingdom Keys Network Christian Radio. 

Umbarger, Texas, is located about 67 miles northeast of Farwell, Texas, according to Google maps. The move, if granted by the FCC, would place the station significantly closer to Amarillo, Texas, which is market #168 in the Nielsen market rankings. Umbarger is approximately 28 miles southwest of Amarillo.

There are several requirements for the modification of an FM license in order to specify a new community of license without competing expressions of interest, according to the FCC filing this week.

Among other requirements, an application for such a minor modification must demonstrate that the proposed change of community constitutes a preferential arrangement of allotments in comparison with its current service,” the FCC told the licensee.

In support of its application, TOTEBF explained that the proposed license modification moving from Farwell (2020 U.S. Census population of 1,425 persons) to Umbarger (2020 U.S. Census population of 123 persons) would result in a preferential arrangement of allotments by giving Umbarger a second authorized service.

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The licensee says Farwell is currently the city of license for three broadcast stations, KIJN(FM) KIJN(AM) and KICA(FM). It is also receives primary contour service from at least 10 other stations, the licensee stated.  

Further, TOTEBF claimed the proposed facility does not, and cannot be modified in such a way as to, cover any significant portion of the Amarillo Urbanized Area.

However, the FCC in its response says the modification must also be considered under Priority 4 of the allotment priorities rather than just Priority 2, as claimed by the licensee. The FCC also found Umbarger to be already well served by five aural reception services.

The FCC explained: “A staff engineering analysis reveals that the reallotment of station KIJN(FM) to Umbarger would result in a second local service and seventh reception service to 123 persons, whereas the removal of station KIJN(FM) from Farwell would produce a net loss of service to 16,234 persons.

“We believe the retention of station KIJN(FM) at Farwell as the community’s third local service with a population of 1,425 persons would better serve the public interest and is preferred over the addition of a second local transmission service to a community with a population of 123 persons that is already well served with one local transmission service,” the FCC wrote.

In conclusion, the FCC says TOTEBF failed to satisfy the requirements of several allotment priorities.

“The application, as submitted, does not satisfy the requirements of Priority 2 of the commission’s allotment priorities, because it does not propose a second full-time aural service at the move-in community. Likewise, the application does not satisfy the requirements of Priority 4, other public interest matters, absent further, more detailed information, including evidence of the actual effect on the public interest of the proposed move.”

Nevertheless, the FCC says “an applicant whose application is found to meet the minimum filing requirements but [is] not complete and acceptable shall have the opportunity to correct all deficiencies in the tenderability and acceptability of the underlying application.” 

Radio World sent an email to TOTEBF officials seeking comment.