Forced move of FM costs move initiator


Money TreeRadio Dalhart wanted to move its Class C1 KBEX-FM Dalhart TX from 96.3 MHz to 96.1 MHz, and to make it happen, an involuntary move off of 96.1 MHz was ordered for Perryton Radio Inc.’s KEYE-FM Perryton TX. RD was prepared to pay $20K to cover PRI’s prudent expenses – but PRI spent a good bit more than that.

It sent an itemized bill to RD for $75,553.73.

PRI was to take its Class C3 KEYE-FM from 96.1 to 97.5, but decided instead and was approved to go to 93.7 instead.

Here are the itemized expenses rung up by PR, which include technical, legal and promotion expenses caused by the move:
* New antenna: $13,192.61
* Stand-by antenna: $1,047.85
* Removal/installation of antenna: $4,384.00
* Printing: $3,002.72
* Banner: $86.11
* Electrical parts: $613.64
* Electrical parts: $269.77
* Broadcast equipment: $883.41
* Engineering firm #1: $10,749.51
* Engineering firm #2: $2,750.00
* Legal fees: $30,000.00
* Changing art on gazebo: $1,130.00
* Engineering firm #3: $4,150.00
* Voiceover: $125.00
* Engineering firm #4: $1,169.10

That conflicts with what RD expected to pay by more than $55K:
* Retune antenna: $7,300
* Shipping antenna: $750
* Part to retune antenna: 2,221
* Engineering: $1,000
* Tower services: $5,000
* Advertising: $500
* Promotion: $500
* Office supplies: $500
* Filing fees: $900
* Legal: $1,000

RD informed PRI that it had no intention of forking over $75,553.73, and PRI took its case to the FCC.

RD said that it wasn’t liable for many expenses because PRI moved to 93.7 instead of 97.5 as originally ordered, but PRI said, and the FCC agreed, that in either case RD’s requested channel move was accommodated, and the move to the new channel didn’t materially change the expenses incurred.

Another area of dispute was the antenna – RD was prepared to retune the old antenna, PRI said both parties had agreed to get a new one. The FCC said a new antenna was a reasonable request in this case, given the age of the one KEYE has been using.

Another area of dispute was legal fees – PRI’s charge is a full $29K greater than RD’s estimate. But the FCC said $30K was a reasonable amount given the complexity and the length of time consumed as this situation played out.

In the end, the FCC said that RD had not proven that any of PRI’s claims were out of line; further, in the FCC’s assessment, all of them were reasonable and none were excessive.

The decision: RD has 30 days to pay the full amount to PRI.