KPBS-FM Applies for Move to Soledad

KPBS-FM 89.5 MHz filed with the FCC an application to move their transmitter to Mt. Soledad and increase power to 26 kW ERP from their current 4.4 kW.

The application names the KFMB-FM-TV transmitter site as its new home, but does not address two sticky issues about the site. First, RF radiation at the site can be increased only with very careful modeling, coordination, and measurement due to the proximity of homes. Second, the current community FM antenna was specified and built with a low frequency limit of 94 MHz, and the tower is considered fully loaded. KFMB RF supervisor Rick Bosscher said they are discussing with KPBS a plan to overcome those obstacles.

San Diego State University and the KPBS Foundation have long wanted to move to Mt. Soledad for its obvious increased coverage in North County and northern suburbs where a high concentration of its affluent demograhic resides. In fact, KPBS-FM currently runs most of its informational programming with the stereo pilot off to help boost its coverage.

The FCC recently cleared the way for the relocation when it rejected filings by Televisa, owners of XETV channel 6, against the power increase application of KSDS. In that case, the FCC said that international treaties did not specifically address FM-to-TV channel 6 TV interference, so KSDS was free to raise power regardless of affects to U.S. reception. Exhibits filed with the KPBS application cite that FCC ruling to support their increased channel 6 interference zone.

Disclosure: The author is Director of Engineering for Bay City Television, a U.S. subsidiary of Televisa and the marketing and news operations arm of XETV.