Liberman wins arm-wrestling match with Cumulus over TX CPs


Here’s a fun one. When Cumulus Media Partners (CMP) bought Susquehanna’s radio group in 2006, it knew – or should have known – that 93.5 MHz KIKT-FM Greenville TX had a CP to move further northeast of Dallas-Ft. Worth to Cooper TX. Liberman Broadcasting (LBI) took the opportunity to get a CP to upgrade its Dallas-Ft. Worth station one click up the dial, 93.7 KNOR-FM Krum TX. LBI has now acquired FCC approval to build out its CP over CMP’s objections.

Here’s the timeline: KIKT-FM got the CP to move from Greenville to Cooper in January 2003, and renewed it in October 2006. In August 2008, LBI applied to upgrade KNOR and had its application granted in April 2009 conditioned on buildout of the KIKT CP. The KIKT CP expired in early December 2009 and a new one was granted later the same month.

LBI charges that CMP is “warehousing” the Cooper CP and continues to operate in Greenville under an STA, depriving LBI of its opportunity to upgrade KNOR. CMP says it is under financial duress, LBI refuses to assist in financing the move to Cooper and that it is under no particular deadline to make the move.

LBI asked the FCC to allow it to build out by eliminating the KIKT-to-Cooper condition, and further, in the arm-wrestling equivalent of attempting to rip KIKT’s limb right off its torso, to eliminate any STA allowing KIKT to continue operation in Greenville.

Here’s how the FCC rolled on this one: It noted that KIKT has had six years to move; and the fact that it was expected to move was amply demonstrated by the grant of the KNOR upgrade CP. Therefore, it is no longer entitled to standard 1st adjacency protection. The Cooper condition is withdrawn and LBI may construct its upgrade.

However, the FCC would not take away the Greenville STA, saying doing so would not be in the public interest. So essentially, KNOR may upgrade and interfere with KIKT so long as the latter station continues to operate out of Greenville.