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[HCDX] Hawaii Frequency auction may mean more radio
Vol. 10, Issue 364 - Friday, December 30, 2005
Frequency auction may mean more radio
Rights to build more FM radio stations will hit the auction block beginning
By Erika Engle
TRYING to replace the departing morning-radio team for KDDB-FM 102.7 during
the already-busy holidays should bring a promise of rest with the advent of
the new year -- but not for John Detz, president of Maui-based Visionary
Related Entertainment LLC.
Come Jan. 12, he will again endure the sleep deprivation that comes with an
East Coast auction for the rights to build new FM radio stations while
already running a 14-station radio group spanning three islands.
The Federal Communications Commission will auction 171 construction permits
for new FM stations to 214 bidders starting at 5 a.m. Hawaii time on Jan.
12. Still, it was worse during last year's Auction 37, when bidding began at
3 a.m. Last year's auction lasted 14 days.
Winning a construction permit at auction gives the winner the right to spend
millions more dollars to build a radio station. It is a complex undertaking
involving federal, state and local regulations, land-use issues,
environmental-impact studies and, in some cases, starting over from scratch
when a not-in-my-backyard mindset keeps one from building a massively tall
radio tower in, well, somebody's backyard.
Three of the construction permits up for grabs are in Hawaii --
specifically, 106.9 in Nanakuli and two on Maui: 92.5 in Kahului and 107.5
in Kihei. Detz was between meetings and islands yesterday and unavailable
for comment, but he leads the only Hawaii-based radio company registered to
bid in the upcoming auction.
Oh, wait, there's also Kona Coast Radio LLC, but it is based in Cheyenne,
Wyo. Kona Coast spent $2.2 million on two permits a year ago, one in Wahiawa
and one in Rock River, Wyo.
Visionary previously emerged with permits for stations in Kaunakakai,
Molokai, and Kurtistown on the Big Island with bids totaling $1.8 million.
The Kaunakakai permit cost Visionary the most, at just under $1.4 million.
The Kurtistown permit was practically a steal at $428,000.
There are as yet no radio stations up and running from the eight
construction permits sold last year, though three of them have been granted
A station in Hanapepe, Kauai, owned by Jackson, Wyo.-based Christina
Bourdeaux, will be KEEI-FM 94.3; the Kurtistown station will be KTBH-FM at
102.1; and the Wahiawa station will be KHAI-FM 103.5, call letters
reminiscent of a once-popular AM radio station in Honolulu.
Broadcast licensees traditionally have three years to get a station on the
air from the date a construction permit is issued.
Most of the Auction 62 bidders have selected specific construction permits
on which they'll be bidding, but 34 including Visionary have dibs on all 171
Other bidders that already possess Hawaii broadcast licenses are
Calif.-based Educational Media Foundation, Tennessee-based George S. Flinn
III and Illinois-based KM Communications Inc.
Article URL: http://starbulletin.com/2005/12/30/business/story01.html
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