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FCC Tells Radio Dalhart to Pay Up

Commission ends six-year-old dispute over engineering costs in channel move

The FCC has stepped in to settle a six-year-old dispute between two Texas Panhandle licensees, Perryton Radio and Radio Dalhart.

Perryton owns KEYE(FM) in Perryton and Radio Dalhart owns KBEX(FM) in Dalhart.

Six years ago Radio Dalhart asked the FCC to modify its license for KBEX to specify a different channel. As part of that, KEYE had to involuntarily change channels too.

Radio Dalhart pledged to reimburse Perryton for “reasonable” costs associated with the KEYE channel change.

But Radio Dalhart balked when it received a bill for $73,553.73, calling some of the engineering costs excessive, according to the commission. Thirty thousand dollars went to pay legal fees associated with the move, some $13,000 went towards a new antenna. Much of the rest was for removing the old equipment and installing new equipment and making sure the new antenna was properly tuned.

Radio Dalhart said the costs should have been somewhere in the range of $19,000 to $20,000 and that Perryton incurred more costs because it changed what channel it eventually moved to.

Perryton asked the commission to step in. The agency said it did so because the two licensees had not been able to resolve their dispute.

The commission said the charges were not excessive, that it was reasonable for Perryville to replace a nine-year-old antenna with a new one and the use of a standby antenna while the channel change was being implemented was also reasonable.

The FCC said Perryton accommodated Radio Dalhart by changing channels, period, and ordered Radio Dalhart to pay the entire $73,553.73 to Perryton within 30 days.