July 29, 2005

KEAR Sale To Infinity Gets FCC Nod

The FCC has approved the sale of KEAR/106.9 from Harold Camping's Family Stations to CBS/Infinity, moving the station one more step toward an expected October format flip.

The KEAR deal is the back end of the "swap" that sent KFRC/610 from Infinity to Family back in April.

The final hurdle in the process of moving KEAR into Infinity's stable is the Oakland Athletics, whose games remain on KFRC/610 until their current season is over. Due to their recent hot streak (and a corresponding cold streak by their division rivals, the Los Angeles Angels of Fullerton), the A's season — originally scheduled to end on Sunday, October 2 — could possibly be extended by several weeks, depending how far the team gets in the playoffs, should they qualify.

Infinity will not take possession of KEAR until the A's season is played out completely, at which time the KEAR call letters will move from 106.9 to 610 (both companies retained the rights to the respective call letters in the deal), and 106.9 will undergo a makeover, including new call letters and a new sound that could include anything from a variation on the much-vaunted "Jack" format to a try at Contemporary Hits (CHR)/Current Top 40.

One of the sidebar conditions to the Infinity/KEAR deal is "the prior or concurrent divestiture of KBAY(FM) ... or KEZR(FM)," according to FCC documents. The FCC has granted its approval of Infinity's assignment of the licenses for KBAY and KEZR to the San Jose Trust (Elliot Evers) pending their sale to NextMedia.

Dots and Dashes — With the loss of its AM simulcast partner this Spring, KFRC-FM failed to gets its customary baseball bump from the A's, remaining at 2.9 for an eleventh place in the recent Arbitron ratings (tied with Berkeley's KBLX/102.9). The loudly heralded "podcast" format on co-owned KYCY/1550 ("KYOUradio") was noticeably absent from the overall 12+ ratings, perhaps signaling that it's time to trash this ill-conceived experiment and make the station over into the new KFRC-AM once baseball season ends.

This newsblurb from All Access (July 29) may be one of my favorite radio newsblurbs ever:

"BRENT TAYLOR joins CENLAR Top 40 KQID/ALEXANDRIA, LA for nights, from swing at EL CHICO'S MEXICAN RESTAURANT! Props to PD RON ROBERTS for discovering talent in non-traditional places."
Meanwhile, somewhere out there in Radioland, an unemployed jock just leaped off a transmitter tower...