Here’s one you don’t see every day – just like Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor in “Green Acres,” an AM station has sought and received FCC permission to get out of town and move to the country – although in this case, the acres won’t likely be all that green.
The station is KCWK-AM – it was licensed to North Las Vegas, but licensee Eastern Sierra Broadcasting wanted to take it out of town to put down roots in Laughlin NV.
Laughlin is located right at the southern tip of the state across the Colorado River from Bullhead City AZ. Since the state of Nevada tapers to such a severe point in this area, Laughlin is also extremely close to California.
The new facility will be a Class B on 1430 kHz with 50 kW-D, 310 W-N, DA2.
The FCC document memorializing this case notes that the change in the station’s nighttime coverage pattern will reduce the number of people who can hear the station by 93%. Generally, that is a reason to disallow the move – indeed, usually a licensee would seek to go the other way and increase its population coverage by that amount.
The grant was made in honor of the FCC’s rural radio initiative – it is trying to increase service to less-populated areas, and the EBS plan fits right in.
As the FCC put it, “ESB’s proposal does not fit the pattern of broadcasters ‘congregat[ing] in major markets;’ quite the opposite, the proposed change of community represents a move from a major market to a less well-served area. The effect of the proposed move is therefore consistent with the goal of Section 307(b) as well as the policies expressed by the Commission in Rural Radio.”
We were unable to locate a current contour map for the CP, which is currently off air, but another AM licensed to Laughlin with 10 kW-D does get to Vegas during the daytime. We therefore suspect that with 50 kW-D, so will KCWK – the FCC’s analysis of the station’s move to Laughlin focused exclusively on its loss of nighttime potential audience.