Attempt to flee Flint foiled by FCC


Birach Broadcasting came up with a plan to move WCXI-AM from Fenton MI to Wixom MI, and even came up with a settlement agreement with a mutually exclusive application proposed by Scott Powell and aimed at Winfield WV. But it wasn’t good enough for the FCC. As is usually the case when small towns you’ve never heard of are bandied about in engineering proposals, the real cities in question are Flint and Detroit. This issue dates back to 2005.

Fenton is in the Flint area, Arbitron market rank #127. Wixom is in the Detroit area, Arbitron market rank #11.

Birach wanted to pull up stakes in Fenton, it said, partly because it was on a month-to-month lease for its transmitter site, a tenuous situation it said could end at any time, that another of its stations in the Fenton area, WPON-AM, to Walled Lake MI after being evicted from its transmitter site. It also noted that the move would give first service to Wixom, and that with a population of 13,267, more people would be served than in Fenton, where only 10,582 reside per the 2000 Census. Birach proposed to co-locate WCXI with WPON, adding a third tower to afford protections necessary to fit into the new city of license. Birach also noted that citizens of Fenton would still be able to receive at least five radio stations.

The FCC didn’t buy it. Noting that any city of license change faces high hurdles, it said that the tenuous hold on its TL was a situation of its own making, for not securing a longer-term lease, and that Birach’s fear of the loss of the site was speculative and in the future. The FCC also found it implausible that there was no land available in the event it did lose its lease. It contested Birach’s claim that it would need 11 acres to accommodate three towers, saying that if it stays put it will only need six and a half acres, since it will be able to continue on with only two towers.

Bottom line, the move to Wixom and the proposed settlement agreement with Powell were both denied.