The FCC October 15, 2020 approved the transfer of KFSD 1450 AM Escondido to IHS Media of San Diego for $150,000 from North County Broadcasters, the Astor family that had owned the station since 1996.
KFSD Escondido returned to the air May 20, 2020, with its adult standards music format, just under a year after going silent in June 2019. The station, owned by the Astor Group, had been looking for a buyer to take over the station since Art Astor passed away in 2016.
The FCC is clearing for auction some of the C-Band spectrum that broadcasters have used over the past decades. It seems they are in a bit of a hurry, so they’ve put into place some pretty good incentives to get out of the way of 5G telecom companies ready to bid.
If your company owns and has registered satellite dishes, the FCC has put together a catalog of reimbursable expenses you may incur to rearrange your C-band receiving habits. For example, if your programming syndicator is continuing its broadcasts without any interruption or change of frequency, you may only need a new inline receive filter. If you are part of a network that will need tighter compression, you might need a whole new receiver, along with that filter, plus the labor to install it. All the costs associated with those changes can be claimed, and your network provider, satellite owner, or your own corporate engineering crew can help with getting your organization reimbursed.
One interesting wrinkle is that in the interest of expeditiousness, the FCC is offering another route, and this is not to be ignored. They will pay a lump sum of $9,000 for a usable port to get you off the band. I installed a four-feed multibeam modification a few years ago for a client and now they are eligible for $42,000 as a lump sum, even if they only need to buy four passband filters for a total of about $2,500, including installation. That means they can pocket $39,500 without guilt or fear of prosecution. Pretty good, no?
What’s the catch? Well, the deadline for filing was pretty tight–August 31–but the FCC has extended that for two more weeks to September 14. If you are using an Intelsat satellite, you have probably already been contacted about this. Others, like NPR, Premiere Networks, or your TV network, has likely been in touch with you. If you are independent, contact your station attorney or vendors like Dawnco or SEG Wesco to see how to get your money.
NBCUniversal San Diego’s VP of Technology and Operations since 2008, Dave MacKinnon announced recently he’s leaving the station on September 1, 2020. I asked Dave about his years at the station and his goals.
Q: You were hired to lead the Engineering Department at KNSD though you had come from a non-broadcast background, right? That speaks highly of your impressing the hiring staff. What had you done before taking that job?
A: I worked for the Dept of Defense. This was my first job in TV. I had to learn a lot very quickly, but I was helped by an amazing team at KNSD, an industry changing to look more like IT, and similarities between broadcast and DoD standards.
The transition from multigenerational, family-owned KFMB-AM-FM-TV to corporate ownership by three different entities, it seems, has finally been laid to rest. The last move was iHeartMedia’s change of call letters for the AM property they acquired from KFMB-AM to KGB-AM. They’ve been using the historic three-letter call now for several days.
The call letters KGB were requested by general manager George Bowles in 1928 after initially signing on as KFBC in 1922. According to David Leonard and Wikipedia, KGB operated on 1210 kHz from 1925 till 1932. It switched to 1330 kHz, then in 1942 with a major nationwide shuffle of channels, landed on 1360 kHz. When the station went all-news for a while, the station changed call letters to CNN in 1982 and ceded the KGB callsign to its FM sister station at 101.5 MHz.
TEGNA bought the KFMB Stations in 2018, then sold the radio properties in early 2020 to Local Media San Diego, who immediately sold the AM station at 760 kHz to iHeartMedia. KGB-AM runs a conservative talk format out of iHeart’s San Diego studio complex.