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View Full Version : KGA radio to reduce the station's nighttime power from 50,000 watts to 15,000 watts



ZagNative
06-10-2008, 02:12 PM
Per Jim Kerschner, as reported here (http://www.individual.com/story.php?story=83863494).
A KGA POWER REDUCTION: The owners of KGA-AM (1510) have applied to the Federal Communications Commission to reduce the station's nighttime power from 50,000 watts to 15,000 watts.

If approved, this will probably have only a minor effect on local listeners, since 15,000 watts is still plenty of punch to reach the majority of the Spokane market.

However, it would mean the end of an era. KGA-AM would have to relinquish its "clear channel" Class A status, which it has held since 1948. The station's power would remain at 50,000 watts during the day -- the maximum for any AM station -- but because it would no longer blast at full power at night, it would become what the FCC calls a Class B station.

"Spokane was always proud of KGA for the fact that people could hear the message and news of Spokane all up and down the West Coast at night," said Tom Read, founder and executive director of the Northwest Pioneer Broadcasters, owner of two stations in Spokane and former KGA announcer. "That's something we'll definitely lose."

According to an engineering report filed as part of the application, the area covered by the station's primary (i.e., local) signal, will be reduced somewhat at night, especially in North Idaho. Because the signal is aimed mainly west and southwest, coverage has always been sketchy in North Idaho -- even at 50,000 watts.

KGA-AM, which switched recently to an all-sports format, carries Gonzaga University's basketball broadcasts -- and most of them are at night. However, Gonzaga athletic director Mike Roth said he does not expect the proposed change to significantly affect local listenership.

The real reduction would be in what is called the "secondary" skywave signal -- the signal which bounces for long distances off the night sky. That's the signal that listeners can pick up at night all through Oregon and much of California. As a Class B station, KGA-AM's skywave signal would no longer be protected from interference by other stations.

The proposed power reduction would enable Mapleton Communications, which recently purchased KGA-AM, to boost the nighttime power of one of its other stations, KPIG-AM in Piedmont, Cal., which is also at 1510 on the AM dial. Under a related contingent proposal, KPIG-AM would go from its present 230 watts at night to 2,400 watts at night, and thus cover a much larger segment of the Bay Area.

The Northwest Pioneer Broadcasters are concerned about this aspect of the proposal. In an e-mail statement, Read said it was "a fair question" to ask if Mapleton would have been interested in buying Spokane stations "if it were not for the fact that by downgrading KGA, they could upgrade their Piedmont, Cal., station."

Adam Nathanson of Mapleton Communications said it would be premature to comment since no decision has yet been made by the FCC.

Want to weigh in? The application is still open to public comment by writing to the FCC at 445 12th St. S.W., Washington, D.C. 20554. Refer to KGA's identification number, which is No. 11234 and the application file number, BP-20070905AAK. I'm here in Spokane, so it's not a problem for me. However, the outliers amongst us might want to comment in writing to the FCC. I sure don't want to miss the chance to hear Richard Fox and Tom Hudson's commentary, especially at away games.

OT: There are some other tidbits in that Kerschner column, including some stuff about the filming of the movie "Norman" in Spokane, described there as a "dark comedy." (Do we allow dark comedy in Spokane??? :confused: )

Also in the column and off-topic:

SANDPOINT LINEUP CHANGE: Here's a lineup change for the Festival at Sandpoint:

The Richie Furay Band and the Marshall Tucker Band will join the anchor act, Pure Prairie League, for the "Super Saturday" concert on Aug. 9.

The Furay and Marshall Tucker bands will replace the previously announced Firefall and Poco.

Zag 77
06-10-2008, 03:20 PM
That 50,000 blowtorch could blast right through the Cascades and Rockies. You hear stories about picking up KGA all over Western Canada and the Western US.

Maybe in the internet radio age it does not matter that much anymore.

hondo46
06-10-2008, 04:02 PM
And stories of people (who lived near the tower) picking up the signal in their dental work and in the plumbing of their shower. The tower was moved a few years ago out of a neighborhood where it seemed every resident had some strange story of the odd effects of living close to a 50,000 watt beacon of power.

ZagNative
06-10-2008, 04:28 PM
Maybe in the internet radio age it does not matter that much anymore.Most of last year, KGA didn't provide internet access to listen to the games on their regular website. Maybe subscribers on cstv.com did better ...

75Zag
06-10-2008, 06:25 PM
I will really miss the ability to listen to GU games in my car via KGA's strong signal. Internet is fine for home, but I am frequently away from home during GU games - especially with all the weird start times this past year.

It was possible to listen to all GU games on KGA's web site for free this past year, but you needed to know the secret handshake. Since I assume GU sports marketing folks and maybe KGA or CSTV folks troll through here once in a while I won't reveal it since I would prefer they not patch the hole. My daughter (who I like to call 04Zag) showed me the trick. Well worth the 100 grand I spent putting her through GU.

MDABE80
06-10-2008, 08:50 PM
I'm betting GU will have made it's own arrangements in the next 5 years. If GU had FB , this would be an easy choice......like EWU with it's station KEWU.

Myself, I will miss the 50,000 watt flamethrower at night. Dang I knew I shoulda bought that station when it was for sale. This is what happens when big media is allowed to buy too much. FCC blew it on this deal last Winter. Any changes in broadcast policy over the PUBLIC's Airwaves allegedly in the PUBLIC's interest are perfunctory and favor the corps now.

MedZag
06-10-2008, 10:20 PM
Most of last year, KGA didn't provide internet access to listen to the games on their regular website. Maybe subscribers on cstv.com did better ...

Exactly. It irked me beyond description when KGA's "Listen Live" would putz out right before game-time.

If they streamed live over the internet this would be a moot point.


Myself, I will miss the 50,000 watt flamethrower at night. Dang I knew I shoulda bought that station when it was for sale. This is what happens when big media is allowed to buy too much. FCC blew it on this deal last Winter. Any changes in broadcast policy over the PUBLIC's Airwaves allegedly in the PUBLIC's interest are perfunctory and favor the corps now.

Clear Channel has been killing radio for over a decade now. Sheesh, you want to talk about a monopoly...

attyrob
06-10-2008, 10:30 PM
I hate to think of how many times I have sat in my driveway listening to the Zags on KGA here on the wet side of the state when I could not get them on tv or otherwise. This is not good news in the absence of a state wide "Zag network" ala the Cougs or the Dawgs. I know Mike R. is working on this, but the time is now. We need a Seattle home station that has a little power to be heard. (Even KJR can't be heard at nite in parts of Renton!)

LoveMyZags
06-11-2008, 09:51 AM
Clear Channel has been killing radio for over a decade now. Sheesh, you want to talk about a monopoly...

KGA Is not a Clear Channel station, it is a KREM station. I used to work at Clear Channel in Spokane. They have Newstalk590 and 1280 (Air America). and I could argue you on the Monopoly front, but they kind of are..and I don't want to argue either!

I have heard rumors though that KGA can be heard in CA on a really clear night...at least I think it was KGA...or it was 590...hummmm

I don't have much to say on the subject as I live in CA and the only way to track a game that isn't on TV is internet radio which is not the easiest thing to do if you don't want to pay for it, and I usually don't want to pay a monthly fee for one stinking game. Good luck for all of you that this affects though!

SWZag
06-11-2008, 10:07 AM
Bummer!!! Not cool. Now is the time to get a radio station in Seattle to broadcast the games. Now that would be awesome.

SWZag