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KPQS(FM) Wins License Renewal

It had been challenged with allegations of being off the air for extended period

The FCC’s Audio Division has granted license renewal to an FM station in central California, over the objection of another broadcaster.

The station is KPQS, a Class A airing on 106.7 in Waterford and licensed to Hispanic Target Media.

Grace Orthodox Presbyterian Church, licensee of LPFM station KGCE at 107.9 in nearby Modesto, complained to the commission that “for the 18 eighteen months,” up to January 2022, KPQS had been “basically off the air.”

It added that in May of this year, American Tower Corp. said it terminated Hispanic Target Media’s tower lease for non-payment, though the station continued broadcasting during that dispute.

The Audio Division asked Hispanic Target Media to clarify its operating status and give a chronology for any periods of silence since July 2015.

The company replied to the FCC, saying that KPQS had “continuously been on the air since 2015 except for a brief period of time during January of 2022 when the station experienced transmission problems.” It provided power bills, employee statements and other documentation.

Now the Audio Division has ruled that Grace Orthodox failed to substantiate its claim that KPQS was off the air for a year and a half.

“Grace merely states that it was unable to pick up the signal at an undisclosed location in Modesto, using an unidentified receiver, despite attempts to do so ‘perhaps every week.’” Further, it didn’t respond when HTS documented having been on the air.

The outcome wasn’t entirely good news for Hispanic Target Media; during the application review, the FCC found that it had failed to maintain issues and program lists in the KPQS online public inspection file.

HTM has agreed to a Consent Decree, committing to a compliance plan; it must report back on that within a year.