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FCC Rejects KTIA’s Move Nearer to Des Moines

Saga had fought the proposal

Iowa religious station KTIA(FM) will not be allowed to move its transmitter from Boone to Huxley, the FCC staff ruled shortly before Christmas. This is a win for Saga Communications. The change would have put the station closer to the Des Moines market.

This also means that KPUL, an FM station in Winterset, Iowa, will not have to change frequencies involuntarily.

KTIA licensee Truth Broadcasting had asked for permission to move the 99.3 MHz signal to Huxley. KPUL didn’t protest; but another broadcaster, Saga Communications, with six stations in Des Moines, did take exception.

The ensuing legal wrangling delved into preferential arrangements of allotments, thresholds, “move in” strategies, engineering findings and whether there are towers from which KTIA might later be modified to cover more than half of Des Moines or Ames, Iowa. (Read the details.)

In its key finding, though, the FCC said that Truth Broadcasting cannot claim a first local service and further agreed with Saga that retention of a fourth local service at Boone is preferable over at least a seventh local service in the Ames urbanized area. “While there would be a net gain in service to 247,399 persons, we do not believe that this gain in service is decisionally significant in this case because both the gain and loss areas are well served with at least 10 services.”