Showing posts with label KVSS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label KVSS. Show all posts

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Maybe not safe from the Catholics

Well, perhaps Omaha's heritage Christian station, KGBI -- which bills itself as "Safe for the Whole Family" -- isn't quite safe from the Catholics after all, as Spirit Catholic Radio (KVSS) seeks to better its position on the FM dial.

BASED ON the vague information on the KVSS website and a review of signal-contour maps for the city's 100 kilowatt FM stations, I had thought that The Big O (KOOO 101.9 FM) might be KVSS' acquisition target.

But after delving into old contour maps and applications for construction permits on the Federal Communications Commission database (dating from before KGBI moved its main transmitter to northwest Omaha from Springfield, Neb.), it looks more and more like Spirit Catholic Radio actually wants to buy KGBI.

And we know that, in other markets, Salem Communications -- KGBI's owner -- has been willing to sell.

IN MILWAUKEE, Salem is selling off its "Fish" branded contemporary-Christian music FM station, as well as its AM station. And in 2006, it sold its Jacksonville, Fla., contemporary-Christian station to Cox Radio. And that's just two of what might be many more sales by Salem.

From Radio Ink, here is a story dated March 4:

During Salem Communications' fourth-quarter and full-year earnings conference call Tuesday, CEO Ed Atsinger detailed Salem's sales since its last call -- Salem has announced the sales of WHKZ-AM/Warren, OH, for $600,000; KTEK-AM/Houston, for $7.8 million; and WFZH-FM and WRRD-AM/Milwaukee, for $11.8 million -- and said, "We will continue to monitor the performance of our broadcast stations generally, and we are actively engaged in negotiations, I can say at this time, for the sale of some additional properties."

Atsinger also updated the progress of Salem's newest format, Spanish-language Christian Teaching & Talk, saying the company now has four stations on the air in the format, and "the early results are encouraging, both in terms of revenue and station operating income." He said more stations can be expected to move to Spanish Christian Teaching & Talk in the coming months.

Later, Atsinger discussed the state of the industry, saying, "We're fully aware of the challenges facing the radio industry. Salem clearly faces the same challenges." He said Salem has been hit particularly hard by the problems in the subprime mortgage market "because of our target demographic attracting a substantial number of advertisers from the mortgage and home-improvement industries." He said, "Many of these advertisers are gone. We believe that they will come back, but we expect that this particular challenge will remain with us for some time."
WOULD KGBI be one of those "additional properties"? That now looks likely, given what Omaha evidence there is to go on. Salem purchased what was then The Bridge from Grace University for $10 million in late 2004.

Let's take another look at that "proposed coverage" map KVSS posted on its website:

And now, a contour map for KGBI -- when the main transmitter was on its Springfield tower -- from a 2004 application for a minor change to its FCC license:

The 60 dBu signal contour is the same as the KVSS proposed coverage area. And, looking at
the previous post, we note that the pattern is identical to that in The Big O's signal map.

There's a reason for that. According to an old KGBI filing with the FCC, when the station was on the Springfield tower, it shared an antenna with KOOO.
Same power, same antenna, same coverage pattern.

So, I'm changing my bet back to what my original suspicion was before digging into the FCC database the first time -- KVSS is trying to buy KGBI. And the Catholic station intends to move back to the Springfield transmitter site to better cover Lincoln and southeast Nebraska.

I think. If it's not KGBI, it's got to be KOOO. And vice versa.

As always, stay tuned.

Will the 'Big O' be slain in the 'Spirit'?

The Omaha City Weekly's "Media Watch" blog reports that the local Catholic FM station is looking to let the light shine over a lot bigger chunk of Nebraska and Iowa than what it can reach with its present underwhelming signal on 88.9 FM:
Omaha Catholic radio station KVSS (88.9 FM) is making plans for a multi-million dollar expansion that will increase its broadcast reach to nearly 1.2 million people.

The nine-year-old station currently reaches 662,000 people within a 50-mile radius of Omaha. The planned expansion is expected to cost $3.5 million - of which $1 million has already been raised.
THE BLOG ITEM is pretty vague stuff when it comes to how KVSS plans to do that. The non-commercial station can't go up to 100 kilowatts at 88.9 FM because of its proximity to the audio signal of Channel 6, and because it also has to protect a Jimmy Swaggart FM translator on the same 88.9 frequency in Beatrice.

Also, the are few to no open frequencies in the eastern Nebraska / western Iowa area, particularly when you're talking about trying to shoehorn in as powerful an FM signal as the law allows.

SO, HOW IS the local Catholic peashooter going to manage to play in the big leagues of FM radio?

Well, it looks like they're going to buy. The
Spirit Catholic Radio website has this to say in an all-out appeal for fast cash:
One million dollars has already been raised in Omaha to cover some of the costs associated with the project. KVSS and Kolbe Media face a deadline of May 26 (just 81 days) to work out the details and raise another $2.5 million dollars. “Yes, it’s a large sum of money needed in a short period of time, but we are undaunted because this mission of evangelization over the airwaves is just too important”, said Msgr. Peter Dunne, spiritual director for KVSS. “God has all the money we need, it’s just in people’s pockets. We invite people from throughout eastern Nebraska and western Iowa to come forward and join in this important work of the Church.”
AND THE SIGNAL CONTOUR MAP posted by KVSS, perhaps unwittingly, offers a good clue as to what they may be up to in the purchase department -- speculative though any educated guess here might be.

Your Mighty Favog's two cents say Spirit Catholic Radio is going to be telling The Big O (KOOO, 101.9 FM) that it has to go. And if that's the case, book it that the KVSS fund-raisers are going to be hitting up the faithful for a lot more than the $1 million they already have and the extra $2.5 million they want before May 26.

Here's the signal map posted by KVSS, with the inner circle representing the 60 dBu (city grade) signal the new, improved Spirit Catholic Radio will have:

YOU'LL NOTE that the transmitter is located near Springfield, Neb., the city-grade coverage boundary cuts right through Seward, Neb., and that the signal is nearly perfectly non-directional, with a little bump north of Red Oak, Iowa.

Now we take a look at the signal map for The Big O,
found in the Federal Communications Commission database:

NOTICE THAT the transmitter is located near Springfield, Neb., the city-grade coverage boundary cuts right through Seward, Neb., and that the signal is nearly perfectly non-directional, with a little bump north of Red Oak, Iowa.

Coincidence? I think not. Then again, it's not like anything has been confirmed. This is just a process of compare and contrast . . . and a process of elimination.

Speaking of comparing and contrasting, here's the signal-contour maps of some other 100,000-watt Omaha signals that conceivably could be candidates for a sale. First, contemporary-Christian station, KGBI.

First off, the KGBI transmitter is at the Crown Point tower farm in north Omaha, not in south Sarpy County. And the city-grade signal doesn't even reach to Lincoln.

I had read that Salem Communications, corporate owner of KGBI, has been looking to sell off some of its properties nationwide -- for example its station in Milwaukee, The Fish.

But by looking at the maps, it would appear that Salem's Omaha FM is still "Safe for the Whole Family" . . . or at least safe from the Catholics.

SO, HOW ABOUT another candidate, 100,000-watt, non-commercial KIWR, The River over in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Looking at the map, you'll see that its transmitter also is at Crown Point in north Omaha -- and that it's not non-directional:

AND HERE'S the contour map for Clear Channel's KQBW, The Brew. Again, not a match, though a purchase by KVSS at least would get rid of 96.1 FM's stomach-turning "dancing shirtless fat man" ad campaign.

AND, FINALLY let's take a look at KSRZ, Journal Broadcasting's Star 104.5. Yet again, the maps don't match:

ONCE AGAIN, I could be all wet. KVSS could be working a deal for another station, as well as a sweetheart deal for cheap rent on the Springfield tower, assuming they could get FCC approval to move transmitter sites and have the cash to cover the expense of a move.

Then again, the Catholic station's need to raise money quickly may have led the station to unwittingly announce more than it wanted.

Stay tuned.