NPR Poised To Lose The Rio Grande Valley


Scan across the radio dial in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, and you’ll hear a lot of Spanish-language programming. That’s a reflection of the proximity of the cities of McAllen, Brownsville and Harlingen to such sizable Mexican cities as Reynosa and Matamoros.

As such, this market of 1.02 million people — of which 910,200 are Hispanic — has roughly eight FM stations with English-language programming. One of the McAllen signals is the home of NPR for the border city, while another signal based in Harlingen is a simulcast partner.

That’s soon set to end, leaving the nation’s 56th-largest metropolitan area and a Top 10 Hispanic DMA without an in-market public radio source.

Alvaro Gonzalez, Chairman of the Board of Directors for RGV Educational Broadcasting, has signed off on the sale of 3kw Class A KJJF-FM 88.9 in Harlingen and Class A KHID-FM 88.1 in McAllen.

The buyer is Immaculate Heart Media, the Wisconsin-based non-secular nonprofit entity that operates the “Relevant Radio” Christian-themed network of noncommercial radio stations.

The parties signed off on an asset purchase agreement on Tuesday (2/12), which was immediately filed with the FCC.

RGV Educational Broadcasting is earning $1,251,000 from the sale of the Class As; a $62,550 escrow deposit has been made to RGV and is being held by Paramount Media Advisors.

RGV’s legal counsel in this  transaction is Lawrence Miller of Garvey Schubert Barer. Representing IHM is Mark Denbo of Smithwick & Belendiuk.

What the future holds for Rio Grande Valley Public Radio is not known. Mario Muñoz, a host and producer at KJJF and KHID declined RBR+TVBR’s request for comment, noting that PD Chris Maley would be the appropriate person to speak with. Maley hosts a jazz program from 2-4pm Central daily and was not yet at the stations when reached by RBR+TVBR.

If NPR programming does not land on another signal in the market, it would leave McAllen-Brownsville without a vital source of information. The only English-language spoken-word station other than KJJF and KHID is KURV-AM 710, a News/Talk station owned by Roberto Gonzalez’s R Communications. KURV offers a blend of local programming in addition to syndicated hosts including Rush Limbaugh and The Dana Show.

While the West Palm Beach market does not have its own locally originating NPR member station, Miami-based WLRN-FM 91.3’s main signal reaches the southern half of the market, while an FM translator offers unique programming to West Palm Beach on 101.9 MHz. Additionally, WQCS-FM 88.9 is audible across much of the market.


A deal originally announced in mid-October 2016 is finally filed with the FCC, signaling the official merger of two religious noncomms