The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

12 April 2004

The grass is browner on the other side

Terry Keith Hammond owns a little 6,000-watt FM in Shamrock, Texas, just over the state line on I-40. MonsterFM is moving over one channel, from 92.7 to 92.9, and jumping to 50,000 watts, but if Hammond can help it, he's not staying in Shamrock. Here's why (his story starts in 2002, when he bought the station):

I was immediately branded an "outsider" and (after a nice memo from the local chamber of commerce director was circulated) virtually every local business stopped advertising on my station, virtually killing it for all practical purposes.

Now, we're ready to go back to full power (after an upgrade) and full service facility as a 50,000 watt class C-2 FM on 92.9. However, as the "Texas reception" hasn't gotten any better (we were even subjected to an armed robbery — literally — and recorded the entire incident on both video and audio to only be told by local law enforcement that it wasn't a "crime" but was a "mistake"), I'm seriously wondering if I shouldn't consider moving the entire operation into nearby Oklahoma as it's only 14 miles east of our current site and is definitely a minor move in the eyes of the FCC.

Bottom line: Previous station management (under an LMA) had borrowed money from the local Economic Development Board and defaulted. The Economic Development Board is sore because they THOUGHT the station license would be collateral and they'd end up owning a radio station (such as WRR in Dallas). Then, they found out that, not only is a city not allowed to become a broadcast licensee but, the "defaulters" weren't even the licensees (their "attorney" didn't properly research the situation beforehand) and they've loaned money to people who didn't "own" what they'd wanted most to use as collateral. (BIG MESS THAT HAS *NOTHING* TO DO WITH ME!!!)

Their solution: Back out of our negotiations to purchase the building and tower site (by paying off the loan the other folks had defaulted on) and steal our equipment at gunpoint (the other guys emptied the station on their way out). We finally managed (after almost two years and with the help of the local courts) to get our equipment back but, only after we'd built a new studio and transmitter site north of town.

My question: Do I want to build a new 50,000 watt FM facility near this town that is so fast to knowingly STEAL an entire radio station and repeatedly ignore numerous court orders to return what they've stolen? Or, do I want to move my entire operation into neighboring Oklahoma and hope the people there are more friendly?

The FCC will not likely approve a move that removes the signal from Shamrock entirely — KBKH is the only station licensed to Shamrock — but the station might be able to relocate to, say, Sayre, Oklahoma, just inside the state line; they would still easily reach Shamrock, they'd be far enough from other stations on this frequency to avoid interference, and they might be able to pick up an audience in Elk City, fifteen miles away.

Were I this guy, I'd be sending off an application to modify the station's license this week. Texans tend to be friendly folk, but some Texans (and, for that matter, some Oklahomans) insist that you do bidness their way or else, and sometimes "else" is the better choice.

Posted at 6:37 AM to Overmodulation


Sounds like the Wild West still lives. Looting the premises at gunpoint is definitely frowned upon around here. The local "free form" radio station (WFMU-FM) started out as a college station but when the college went belly up the station remained.

The big boys have been trying to steal their license and frequency for years, since the NYC market frequencies are all allocated it is worth a lot of dough. So far they have not been successful. They also tried to have their signal strength reduced, triggering a $400K litigation. Hmn... maybe an armed robbery is more civilized?

Posted by: The Proprietor at 11:21 AM on 12 April 2004

Unless the FCC has changed their rules, the 88.1 to 91.9 MHz range is still reserved for noncommercial stations; if nothing else, this suggests that there is no more honor among nonprofits than there is in the commercial milieu.

89.1 in New York, many years ago, was reserved for UN use. So far as I know, they never actually got it.

Posted by: CGHill at 11:46 AM on 12 April 2004

I'm no radio engineer, but the allegation to justify a reduction in signal strength is usually "interference". Out in the flatlands that is often a simpler issue, but here where there are hills and mountains, weird things happen to line-of-sight signals.

WFMU is at 91.1 and relays to a station in the Hudson Valley at 90.1. They are also on the web at www.wfmu.org.

Posted by: The Proprietor at 8:02 AM on 13 April 2004

If you believe this guys story
1. Ask how much he payed for the station?
2. Ask why he never showed the local edc the
(lma) agreement(7 months after he arrived) until the local authorities were about to arrest him for felony theft?
3. Ask who he bought the station from?
4. Ask where he was broadcasting from the day
he was issued a trespass warning from the radio
station building?
5. Ask how he stayed on the air when the other
operators left (and supposingly took all of the
equipment that was collateralized)?
Note: The station was never off the air.
What I am saying is there is always, to quote a
popular radio personality (THE REST OF THE STORY)

Posted by: RUSHDOT at 3:52 PM on 13 April 2004

No doubt there's more to the tale than has been revealed, but I do find it odd that no one has bothered to refute this fellow on the message boards where he posted his original screed.

Should he spot this, I do hope he will answer the questions posed.

Posted by: CGHill at 6:20 PM on 13 April 2004

Both sides were ordered by the court to not talk
about or run down the other on Oct. 3rd 2002.
If you look at his web-site you will see that he
follows instructions well!!!!!
The EDC is doing as the Judge requested.

Posted by: rushdot at 10:25 PM on 13 April 2004

Sorry,

I forgot to give you the web site
www.kbkh.com

Posted by: rushdot at 10:28 PM on 13 April 2004

I THOUGHT YOU WOULD LIKE TO KNOW. THE FIRST COURT
HEARING MR. HAMMOND HAD IN THE SMALL CLAIMS COURT IN WHICH HE FILED ON A CUSTOMER FOR NOT PAYING HIM UNDER THE OLD OWNERS CONTRACT. THE CUSTOMER HAD TOLD KBKH TO STOP THE ADVERTISING AND HE CONTINUED RUNNING THE ADS AND BILLED HIM FOR THE WHOLE YEAR. A JURY LISTENED TO ALL THE EVIDENCE
AND IN 3TO 5 MINUTES RETURNED AND RULED IN THE FAVOR OF THE CUSTOMER. THE TRUE STORY IS STARTING.

RUSHDOT

Posted by: RUSHDOT at 1:20 PM on 21 April 2004