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Cochise Must Surrender KXMK Outright

FCC declines STA request, says license must be donated to non-profit

After receiving an objection from another licensee, the Federal Communications Commission took action against another Cochise Media-licensed station and ordered Cochise to donate the license and related equipment of KXMK(FM) to a nonprofit organization — or to outright surrender the license altogether.

In March 2016, Big River Broadcasting contested Cochise’s earlier request that station KXMK be given special temporary authority (STA) to remain silent. According to Big River, Cochise operated the station no more than three days since filing for its license in November 2013. Big River also questioned whether KXMK facilities were ever constructed.

In an order filed on May 26, 2017, the FCC noted a “chronic failure to serve the public interest” and said it appeared that Cochise was said to avoid license expiration for its Oatman, Ariz., station by resuming operation for only a day on Jan. 23, 2015, after being silent for nearly a year.

FCC Rules state that a station that remains silent for more than 30 days must obtain special temporary authority to remain silent. For those stations that fail to transmit broadcast signals for a consecutive 12-month period, that license may automatically expire.

“Our records indicate that since being licensed on Jan. 23, 2014, KXMK has, by Cochise’s own admission, operated only three days at the most,” the FCC said in a statement.

The commission found that further investigation into the issue would not only be costly and time-consuming and would not resolve the underlying issue: KXMK’s chronic failure to operate. And so the commission and Cochise entered into another consent decree, as it did in the case of nearly two dozen other Cochise-licensed stations.

As in the case of the other Cochise stations that are being surrendered, Cochise is ordered to donate its license and assets to a non-profit organization. If such a group cannot be found, the KXMK license will be cancelled and the bureau will reach out to potentially interested Tribal Nations about the opportunity to acquire the KXMK license and related assets, the FCC said.