[JPL] KTPB prepares to sign off after 15 years

Doug Crane dcrane at comcast.net
Sun Apr 30 03:59:44 EDT 2006

At 11:30 PM 4/29/2006, you wrote:
>Lois Gilbert


I'm glad you posted this link to the list.  I've 
copied and pasted a story that ran in the 
Kilgore, LA News-Journal about ten days 
ago.  While the more recent story makes it appear 
that the sale to Educational Media Foundation 
(EMF) was the only game in town as far as 
purchasers, that's not the case at all.  They 
simply had the most money.  There was a local 
group working with Public Radio Capital to ensure 
that the station would remain in the hands of 
locals.  Kilgore College much preferred seeing 
the money now rather than later, public good be damned.

It reminds me of what happened to WDCU when, 
around 1995, the trustees at the University of 
the District of Columbia decided to sell the 
station that was licensed to the school.  It was, 
of course, a full-time jazz radio station and it 
was operating in the black.  The university 
needed the money, hence the sale.  The original 
purchaser was to be a religious broadcaster which 
operated a station in the commercial 
band.  They'd buy WDCU's non-comm frequency on 
the cheap and turn around and sell their 
commercial frequency on the 
anything-but-cheap.  This raised the hackles of 
many DC'ers even on Capitol Hill.  The sale of 
WDCU to the religious broadcaster fell apart with 
C-SPAN being the savior of sorts.  All C-SPAN, 
all the time now exists where once was heard 
jazz.  And with the recent flip of WETA from 
classical to NPR talk, our nation's capital has 
lost two non-comms broadcasting music formats in the last ten years.

What I find especially troubling about the sale 
of KTPB to EMF is that it is continuing the trend 
of religious broadcasters to clutter or even 
appear to take over bit-by-bit the non-comm 
band.  And of course EMF and others like WAY-FM 
are satellite based meaning that there is 
virtually no local content.  Is this what the 
non-comm (88-92 MhZ) frequencies were designed 
for?  What happened to live and local?  Or, at least local?

And speaking of local, KRFC (Ft. Collins) would 
probably have a better dial position and power 
had it not been for EMF and WAY-FM.  As I recall, 
it was only a result of some last minute 
bargaining that allowed KRFC to begin 
broadcasting a few years ago.  Despite KRFC's 
mission to directly serve its community, the FCC 
awarded the two available licenses to religious 
entities.  EMF was in the final stages of 
purchasing religious broadcaster KWBI here in 
Denver.  KWBI was licensed to Western Bible 
College.  The college was one of the finalists 
for one of the licenses in Ft. Collins.  In order 
to expedite the sale, the college gave up their 
rights to the Ft. Collins frequency essentially 
"gifting" the frequency to KRFC.

At the risk of offending anybody who likes the 
programming religious broadcasters offer, these 
organizations do not play fair.  It seems anytime 
there is an application filed with the FCC by a 
local group for even something like a translator, 
the religious guys are right there 
counter-filing.  And in big numbers.  That may 
somewhat explain the delay in KUVO's establishment of a translator in Vail, CO.

I guess the point of this message is that not 
only are there forces battling public radio on 
the inside (WBEZ), there are also battles being 
waged on the outside (KTPB) and probably both 
inside and outside at some other stations.  And I 
feel totally helpless as these stations morph into unrecognizable entities.

Doug Crane
dcrane at comcast.net
Volunteer Jazz DJ
KUVO Denver 89.3 FM

  KC trustees OK KTPB radio sale
Potential buyer focused on Christian music format


Friday, April 21, 2006

KILGORE — Kilgore College trustees on Thursday 
approved selling public radio station KTPB to a 
California-based non-profit group focused on Christian music broadcasting.

Trustees voted 8-0 to authorize KC President Bill 
Holda to sell the station's Federal 
Communications Commission license and 
broadcasting tower to Educational Media 
Foundation for $2.46 million over 10 years, 
including interest. The sale must be approved by 
the FCC, which will have a 30-day public comment 
period before deciding on the sale.

KTPB 88.7 FM, which first broadcast in 1991, airs 
classical music, jazz and news programming from 
the college campus. It's funded by a combination 
of listener donations, college funds and a grant 
from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

No representatives of Educational Media 
Foundation — which broadcasts from 250 
transmitters nationwide — attended Thursday's meeting.

Educational Media Foundation will pay $400,000 
upfront and $1.6 million over the next 10 years 
in monthly payments, bringing the total cost to $2.46 million with interest.

The foundation will rebroadcast a satellite 
signal from the transmitter, Holda said. He added 
that the group will have a regional representatives in the area.

Holda said the college was approached in the fall 
by Patrick Communications, a communications 
broker that links buyers and sellers for 
television and radio media, to consider selling KTPB.

The company then linked the college with 25 
potential buyers, with the top two offers coming 
from Educational Media Foundation and public 
broadcasters Red River Radio, owned by the Louisiana State University system.

Red River Radio — with stations in Shreveport, 
Alexandria, El Dorado and Lufkin — broadcasts 
classical, blues and other types of music, as 
well as National Public Radio programs such as 
"All Things Considered," "Car Talk" and "Prairie Home Companion."

Red River Radio was represented in the sales 
talks by Public Radio Capital, a nonprofit group 
that finds financial backing to buy public 
stations in an effort to keep them in public broadcasting format.

Public Radio Capital offered the college $1.2 
million in cash and $400,000 in broadcasting time 
for local programing, Holda said.

The college wanted to pursue "what we thought was 
the greater dollar value, and that was EMF," he said.

In pursuing a potential sale with Red River 
Radio, he said, the college found several 
potential "road blocks," including waiting up to 
one year before the sale could be final because 
of financial problems in Louisiana.

Holda said he also was told Red River Radio would 
have to guarantee the purchase price in listener 
donations before LSU-Shreveport officials would 
take the proposal to the LSU Board of Supervisors.

"I came to Kilgore College in 1975 to teach 
music, and my entire life has been grounded with 
the arts," Holda said, adding he has been a 
long-time listener of KTPB's classical music. 
"I'm saying this because I want you ... to know I 
really consider it a loss, a personal loss."

Before voting, the board opened the discussion for public comment.

John Whitsell, a Kilgore resident, said he 
disagrees with selling the station because 
listening to the classical music has meant a lot to his family.

"We have faithfully supported it and will 
continue to as long as it exists because it has 
meant a great deal to my wife and I," Whitsell said.

Richard Anderson, a KTPB announcer, said the sale 
would have little, if any, tangible benefit for the community.

"I would consider it a a great loss if KTPB were 
to go off the air," Anderson said.

Mary Decker, a member of Red River Radio's 
advisory board, asked the college board for 
another opportunity to work out a sale.

The area already has many Christian music format stations, she said.

"Public radio is a quality of life issue," Decker said.

Randell Brint, board president, told Decker that 
the college had tried to work out a deal with Red River Radio.

"We recognize that this is potentially a very 
emotional situation for a lot of people," Brint 
said, but in the end, the college had to consider 
what's best for the students, staff and taxpayers.

The deal with Educational Media Foundation "was a 
much more appropriate choice, a better business 
decision for the college," Holda said.

Erik Langner, project director for Public Radio 
Capital, said the group is still interested in KTPB.

"We were certainly interested in working on 
keeping KTPB as a public radio station," Langner said.

Glenda Erwin, vice chancellor of university 
development at Louisiana State University in 
Shreveport, said the university-owned public 
radio system was very excited at the opportunity 
to strengthen its signal in the Kilgore and Longview areas.

"Then, to make a long story short, (Hurricane) Katrina hit," Erwin said.

Erwin said public stations don't come up for sale 
often. Many are being purchased by religious 
groups, she said, and "sometimes it's hard to compete."

"We're just hoping that the public radio voice 
can stay over there (in Kilgore)," Erwin said. "We haven't given up totally."

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