FCC Okays Nexstar Purchase of Tribune Media

The FCC today announced the approval of Nexstar Broadcasting Group’s acquisition of Tribune Media. Nexstar will become the largest owner of TV stations with more than 200 outlets nationwide.

Nexstar will have to divest 21 stations in markets where their outlets will put the company over FCC station count limits. They’ve planned to sell off those excess stations to the Tegna, Scripps, and Circle City groups.

In San Diego, Tribune has operated KSWB-TV, known locally as “Fox 5,” that the group purchased in a bankruptcy sale in 1995 for $70-million.

Tribune Media owned the San Diego Union-Tribune from May 2015 until it was purchased by Patrick Soon-Shiong in February 2018.

San Diego’s 101.1 Saga Continues

Following the exploits of inserting a signal or two or three on 101.1 MHz into San Diego can be a part-time job. KRTH (FM) Los Angeles, the ancient, grandfathered behemoth it remains, covers far outside its home market. Here’s what San Diegans are doing to try to change that:

KVIB-LP San Diego, owned by the World Beat Center, was granted an STA request to remain silent on August 20, 2019. An FCC Minor Modification application dated September 10, 2019, notes a new station location at 3295 Meade Avenue in Normal Heights–a location less encumbered by antenna height limits and with greater surrounding population. The move could also be posed to counter KECR. Read on.

KECR (AM) requested a translator on 100.1 MHz, but the FCC dismissed that application, saying it violated an international agreement protecting the 2nd adjacent channel XHTY 99.7 in Tijuana. That protection extends to 72 km. They filed September 5, 2019, for 101.1 MHz instead, with a northward radiation pattern from Mt. San Miguel.

KRSP-LP El Cajon was granted a license last year to operate on 101.1 MHz, but La Maestra Clinic, the licensee, later wrote a letter to the FCC stating that in fact, the station had never been constructed or operated and was turning in its license. A later Petition for Reconsideration from another party claiming to be associated with the Clinic wanted the license reinstated. The FCC put an end to that Petition by denying it in a September 10 letter.

It will be interesting to see what happens. Any low power station will be challenged by the magnitude of the KRTH signal.

Entercom Hit by Ransomware Attacks

Radio Ink and Radio Insight are reporting that Entercom suffered a group-wide attack on their IT infrastructure over the weekend of September 7 – 8, 2019. They are said to have successfully isolated automation audio playout but are having to manually process sales orders and create operations logs.

In San Diego, Entercom stations include KBZT (FM) 94.9, KYXY (FM) 96.5, KWFN (FM) 97.3, and KSON (FM) 103.7. We have no confirmation of this attack locally as their corporate policy doesn’t allow staffers to discuss internal issues.

Ransomware attacks have made news lately as cities, school districts, and other businesses have had their computer files encrypted with an accompanying ransom notice demanding cryptocurrency for payment. Many organizations choose not to pay, but their internal recoveries can cost more than the ransom payment.

Thanks to Bill Lipis for the news tip.

September Meeting – Single Frequency Networks for Radio

You should be able to drive around our terrain-challenged media market and receive excellent FM broadcast reception everywhere. Till now you haven’t been able to because of signal shadows and multipath. GEO Broadcast Solutions has been working on this throughout the nation and this year has been helping Entercom’s KWFN (FM) locally extend their 97.3 MHz signal through a series of boosters extending their coverage into northern San Diego County. The science of this is more complex than you might imagine; boosters have to be in-phase to the digital bit to work effectively. How do they do that?

Bert Goldman, advisor to GEO Broadcast Solutions, will give a talk at our next chapter meeting on the science and implementation of what they call “Maxxcasting™,” SFN’s for FM broadcast transmission. They’re also working on a related technology, “ZoneCasting™” that could allow geographic targeting of ads within Maxxcasting™ regions.

Join us Wednesday, September 18th at 12 noon at iHeartMedia, 9660 Granite Ridge Drive. We’ll provide a lunch and give Bert the floor for this important presentation.

Continue reading September Meeting – Single Frequency Networks for Radio

KFSD 1450 Escondido Goes Silent

Astor Broadcasting filed in June 2019 an FCC request to go off-the-air while searching for a buyer. The station had been broadcasting “music standards” from the 1950s and 1960s, but the company’s lawyer explained to the FCC that the station “has been operating at a loss for a lengthy period of time.” According to FCC records, the station went silent June 1, 2019.

According to Wikipedia, the KFSD callsign traces back to the 1920s on 620 kHz (later 600 kHz). When Time-Life Broadcasting chose the KOGO callsign for their properties on 600 kHz, 94.1 MHz, and channel 10, the KFSD callsign disappeared until 1973, when 94.1 MHz picked it up again. Astor used the KFSD callsign first in 2001, switched to KSPA, and returned to KFSD in 2012.

At various times, Astor operated KOWN AM 1450, KOWF FM 92.1, and KCEO 1000 in North San Diego County, and KIKF Anaheim. Company founder Art Astor passed away in 2016.

Thanks to Bill Lipis for this news tip.

Society of Broadcast Engineers, San Diego