The Truth-ful Saga of an FM move


TowerTruth Broadcasting wanted to move KTIA-FM from Boone IA to Huxley IA. Saga Communications objected. Thus began a duel with the FCC playing the role of a very active umpire.

The key here is the opposite thrust of the FCC’s view of move-ins since they became common in the 1980s. Whereas back then such moves were commonly approved, nowadays the FCC is more concerned with preserving rural service.

The station is a Class A on 99.3 MHz, and Truth was applying for the same class and frequency in its new location.

The subsequent engineering duel contained enough thrusts and parries that it could be compared to the superb efforts of a fine Olympic-quality fencing team.

Long story short, Saga believed the new station had the potential to reach more than 52% of the Des Moines-Ames IA market with a 70 dBu signal.’

Truth argued that it would only reach 49.73%, to which Saga said that even if the Truth result is correct, it should be rounded up to 50%.

Rather than do that, the FCC used a different method for predicting the population coverage of the new station and arrived at 49.0%, whether or not the antenna was place 190’ or 195’ above ground level, which had been a bone of contention in the Saga-Truth portion on the conflict.

Score one for Truth.

In the second phase of the conflict, it was noted that KTIA would provide first broadcast service to 3,317 individuals. 34,078 people would lose a station, but the FCC determined that Boone would have ample radio service even without KTIA. The total population served by moving the station would be 281,477, far out-weighing the loss in the old location.

Score two for Truth.

Finally, the move required Positive Impact Media to move its KPUL-FM Winterset IA from 99.3 MHz to 101.7 MHz. PIM offered no objection to the move, and Truth promised to foot all reasonable costs associated with it.

Score three for Truth.

Saga finally asked that operating conditions be placed on KTIA in its new location, which the FCC declined to do.

Score four for Truth, and that’s the ballgame.