[HCDX] Hawaii Frequency auction may mean more radio
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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 
Jan. 12


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 
call letters.

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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