Amador Bustos Strikes Again In Washington


Bustos Media is on a buying spree. On Monday, broker of record Kalil & Co. announced that it is purchasing its third station since the start of May.

The company founded and led by Amador Bustos is now getting an FM serving Moses Lake, Wash., a Latino agricultural workers’ hub. The station won’t be changing its language of service, but the programming may shift slightly.

For $200,000, Bustos is acquiring Class C2 KRCW-FM 96.3, licensed to Royal City, Wash. It enjoys widespread coverage of Eastern Washington farmland, which has drawn scores of first-generation Hispanic immigrants for nearly three decades.

This includes such cities as Moses Lake, Warden, Othello and Connell. A big plus: KRCW’s signal reaches much of the Tri-Cities of Richland, Kennewick and Pasco, and on good days can even reach Yakima — a major Latino population center in the Pacific Northwest.

The purchase of KRCW gives Bustos its ninth FM in Eastern Washington. As of Wednesday (5/15), it will begin operating KRCW via an LMA, placing its La Maquina Regional Mexican network on the facility. La Maquina is one of three networks operated by Bustos Media.

Bustos now has 25 total stations in its roster, thanks to the May 3 purchase of three FMs and an FM translator serving the Chico, Calif., area for $400,000 and the May 6 addition for $3 million of Centralia, Wash.-licensed KFNY-FM 102.9 — a facility placed into the Ocean Station Trust created as a result of a swap of stations between Entercom and iHeartMedia. 

Who did Bustos buy KRCW from?

The seller is the Cesar Chavez Foundation’s Farmworker Educational Radio Network — an entity making headlines over the last 12 months for some serious underwriting violations.

The Foundation is the operator of the regional Mexican “LaCampesina” network, and in 2018 forked over a hefty check to the U.S. Treasury as part of a Consent Decree with the FCC to resolve the violations, tied to a noncommercial FM serving Phoenix sold in September 2018 to VCY America

As RBR+TVBR reported in February 2018, KCCF-FM 88.3 — then using the KNAI call letters — and noncommercial KUFW-FM 90.5 in Woodlake, Calif., serving the Visalia-Tulare-Hanford market, were the subject of a complainant who alleged that the Foundation violated the FCC’s underwriting laws by airing announcements promoting products and services from August 2016 to March 2017.

Specifically, the stations’ messages contained qualitative descriptions and comparative language, pricing information, and calls to action — strictly prohibited for a noncomm. Some promotional announcements — including one for the Bill Luke Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram car dealership in Phoenix — included comparisons between the underwriter’s product or service to those of its competitors.

Cesar Chavez Foundation settled the matter by entering into a Consent Decree with the FCC, an action that absolves the licensee of any transgressions. That came after the network, which uses the brand name “La Campesina” to offer regional Mexican programming and shows targeting immigrants, in March 2017 grabbed KMVP-AM “Gospel 860” in Phoenix from Bonneville International Corp. for $800,000. In July 2017, for an undisclosed price, it added K270BZ at 101.9 MHz from Riviera Broadcasting as a simulcast partner. With those stations, Bill Luke or any other former underwriter can serve as an advertising client.