The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

9 May 2003

Bachward steps

The city of Dallas owns a prime piece of FM broadcast spectrum in north Texas: WRR-FM 101.1, currently broadcasting classical music at 100,000 watts.

How prime is it? Other broadcasters would like to get their hands on it. The city isn't considering selling WRR outright, but the possibility of a move down the dial has presented itself.

A number of proposals have been entertained, but apparently the one most likely to get past the city council is one by Susquehanna Radio, which wants to move its KDBN-FM, currently at 93.3, to 101.1, and fill 93.3 with KRNB-FM from 105.7. The city would receive the 105.7 facility, which runs 93,000 watts from a stick in Wise County, and $60 million.

Downside? Wise County is a long way away — the tower is almost 50 miles northwest of Fort Worth — and even 93 kw will barely reach into the south side of Dallas, to say nothing of the southern suburbs. Since the station is owned by the city, opponents contend, at the very least it should be able to reach the entire city without noise or interference.

The historical record shows many instances where a classical station relocated to an inferior facility in exchange for lots of money; the best-known, perhaps, was the move of Cleveland's WCLV to a 6-kw channel in exurban Lorain. It was argued at the time that the move would help secure the station's then-uncertain future, and maybe it did, but I'd hate to have to try to tune them in from the parking lot at Severance Hall.

Posted at 3:56 PM to Overmodulation


It seems like we go through this every 5-8 years. Me, I hope they aren't stupid enough to try to bargain with the Big Boys, since our council is, by and large, a boatload of idiots. Susquehanna will fleece those schmoes as bad as Hicks, Cuban and Perot did on the arena. Certainly on a smaller scale, but relatively, it's no contest. WRR needs to stay where it is, since it is the ONLY classical station for many miles.

Posted by: Scott Chaffin at 1:46 PM on 10 May 2003

I try to pay attention to commercial classical stations, since by any standard they're an endangered species. We haven't had one around OKC in thirty years or so; fortunately, we've had a noncommercial outlet for most of those years. Tulsa's tried twice in that time, and Shamrock Broadcasting, which owned the second, dumped the format after being sick of always pulling a 2 share. They switched to "soft oldies", and still pull a 2 share.

Posted by: CGHill at 7:11 PM on 10 May 2003