Crawford Broadcasting hopes to break ground early next year on the new mainland tower site for KBRT(AM) in Avalon, Calif.
The Southern California station airs on 740 kHz with a three-tower directional antenna system located on Catalina Island, where its lease is expiring.
The company’s plans to move off the island were reported earlier. Now, Crawford Director of Engineering Cris Alexander, an RW contributor, writes in the company’s engineering newsletter that it has received approval for its site development permit to build four towers in the Santa Ana Mountains in Orange County at a site once used by KPLS/KLAA(AM).
Crawford also applied to upgrade power to 50 kW daytime from its current 10 kW.
The company has been searching for a mainland site for the station since 2007. It purchased three parcels of land, now combined into one. “With no guarantee of commercial power availability or that the county would permit construction of the four 281-foot towers we would need (the county height limit is 45 feet), we made this move on faith alone,” Alexander wrote in his project summary.
The company has since secured power from a nearby NOAA radar site and an easement from a neighbor to bring the power over. The FAA has approved four 281-foot towers.
Hatfield & Dawson was retained to complete the allocation study and prepare the FCC application.
Alexander wrote that the FCC application was a challenge. “We had KCBS to the north (San Francisco), KIDR to the east (Phoenix) and KFMB to the south (San Diego). Because of all the overlaps, we had to engineer the facility to essentially duplicate the location of our existing interfering and protected contours. I had already done the preliminary work and decided on a four-tower rectangular antenna array, but we had to further refine that before we were ready to file with the FCC.”
A consulting firm helped with screening for compliance with environmental and historical restrictions.
The station was in the news in 2007 when a fire broke out at the site and burned part of the island. The wildfire burned thousands of acres, destroyed a home and injured several firefighters, AP reported. A subcontractor subsequently pleaded no contest to causing the fire and was ordered to pay restitution.
See photo simulations of the new antenna system here (PDF).