A small radio broadcaster frustrated with the overregulation of the radio industry has taken back his request to formally terminate his license.
Instead, the president of KXQK(FM) plans to seek reassignment of the license to ministry-format broadcaster Houston Christian Broadcasters Inc.
George Chambers, president of Radio Dalhart in Cibolo, Texas, made headlines across the radio industry when he sent an impassioned letter on July 7 to the Federal Communications Commission expressing frustration and remorse with what he called the commission’s evolution from a governing and licensing agency to a “money-grabbing small business killer with unjustified regulatory fee increases yearly and the threat of excessive fines daily.”
On July 18, Chambers withdrew the termination request; he plans to seek reassignment of the license to HCB, which operates the KHCB Radio Network via stations in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Florida.
Radio World has reached out to Chambers and HCB for comment.
In a letter sent to the commission on July 7, Chambers formally surrendered his construction permit for KXQK and asked that the call sign be deleted.
In that letter he shared a long list of grievances, including frustration with environmental and Tribal construction roadblocks that effectively shut down construction projects before they can begin, he said. The growth of the cellular industry has diminished vertical tower space options as well, so that when a site is available, he said, the expense is prohibitive. “Many small broadcast operations do not generate the revenue to keep the doors open and rent space on these towers,” he said. “Constructing a new tower site is just not feasible for the smallest of broadcasters.”
He also blasted the commission on its adoption of the Local Community Radio Act, suggesting that small radio broadcasters were not involved with these hearings. “And I would guess that many commissioners (those who regulate us) have never been involved in a radio station [or] even been in one, having no clue of what we local owners do to support our communities,” he said.
“We live the community and participate in local events,” Chambers said. “Local radio is a way of life — a devotion. With the continuing changes and demands being made by the FCC-FEMA-FAA-ASCAP-BMI-RMLC-Sound Exchange-SESAC-EAS-IPAWS and many more possibly to come in the future, this is killing us!”
“When will it stop?” he asked.
It was back in April that Chambers initially requested a Special Temporary Authority for KXQK to remain silent.
Chamber’s move generated a lot of press, with one poster on a radio discussion board calling the complaint “ a pretty accurate review of the FCC’s constantly changing priorities, along with various road blocks thrown in the path of community broadcasting.”
Another questioned why the FCC allowed KXQK to be licensed in the first place. The station’s community of license is in Comstock, an unincorporated Texas town of about 475 residents, according to the 2010 census.
Chambers said he has served as a proud broadcaster that has played by the book, and although the FCC staff has been fair and helpful to his station, he is “out of steam.”