In Long-Expected Move, ‘La Campesina’ Sold In Phoenix


Earlier this year, the Cesar Chávez Foundation — operator of the regional Mexican “La Campesina” network forked over a hefty check to the U.S. Treasury as part of a Consent Decree with the FCC.

This resolved, without guilt, some serious underwriting violations at a Class C1 noncomm FM serving the Valley of the Sun.

That property has now been sold, in a deal that saw Kalil & Co. serve as the broker.

The station trading hands is now known as KCCF-FM 88.3, a Phoenix-licensed station with 22.5kw signal emanating from a tower atop Shaw Butte, in north Phoenix.

The buyer is VCY America, which made headlines in September 2017 when it agreed to purchased Class C0 KAGM-FM (now KVCN-FM) in Albuquerque from American General Media (AGM) for $900,000.

VCY is known for its English-language Christian-themed programming, and that’s what is headed to KCCF once the deal closes.

For Cesar Chavez Foundation, there will be loss of “La Campesina” at all. Rather, the operation is already active on a commercially licensed AM and an FM translator — each acquired in 2017 to help resolve some questionable underwriting by the regional Mexican operator, one of the Phoenix’s market’s most successful in the Nielsen Audio ratings.

As RBR+TVBR reported in February 2018, KCCF — then using the KNAI call letters — and a sister station in the San Joaquin Valley of California didn’t play by the FCC’s rules when it came to the Commission’s underwriting laws.

Multiple complaints from the same complainant alleged that the Cesar Chavez Foundation violated the FCC’s underwriting laws by airing announcements on KNAI-FM and noncommercial KUFW-FM 90.5 in Woodlake, Calif., serving the Visalia-Tulare-Hanford market, from August 2016 to March 2017.

These announcements promoted the stations’ for-profit underwriters’ products and/or services and contained qualitative descriptions and comparative language, pricing information, and calls to action. In detailing the transgressions at La Campesina affiliates KNAI-FM and KUFW, the Commission notes that some promotional announcements — including one for the Bill Luke Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram car dealership in Phoenix — included comparisons between an underwriter’s product or service to those of its competitors.

To settle the matter, Cesar Chávez Foundation has agreed to implement a compliance plan … and pay a record-setting civil penalty of $115,000. The Foundation also observed a one-year moratorium on conducting underwriting on behalf of for-profit entities, which ends in February 2019.

The Consent Decree came after the Cesar Chavez Foundation’s Farmworker Educational Radio Network 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.

With the sale of KCCF, the Cesar Chavez Foundation is pocketing $4.9 million.

That’s a hefty sum for a signal that VCY America will effectively share with Family Stations. The facility is a rare dual license, meaning Family Stations operates it as KPHF-FM from 7:30pm-5am.

Family Stations has no involvement in this transaction.

VCY America is a Wisconsin-based owner of 25 full-power stations and 15 translators headed by Jim Schneider. VCY also owns a full-power TV station in Milwaukee.