The Galveston Daily News is reporting that a local group, Galveston Community Radio, is calling for Cumulus to donate its silenced station KSTB 101.5 FM (Crystal Beach, Texas) to them. According to the article, “If Cumulus agreed, Galveston Community Radio would create a station offering local news, emergency information and a mix of music with broad appeal, [Operations Director Sandra] Stern said.”
As part of the group’s efforts to get on the air, they convinced the city of Galveston to pass a resolution calling for Cumulus to donate the station to the community. A portion of the resolution (PDF) states, “…the city of Galveston, Texas, hereby requests that Cumulus Media grant thoughtful consideration to the donation of KSTB (FM) licensure to GalvCom to broadcast as a nonprofit Community Radio station in service to the residents of Galveston and surrounding communities…”
Currently KSTB is off the air, largely due to damage following damage from Hurricane Ike in September 2008. The station’s most recent Notice of Suspension of Operations/Request for Silent STA was accepted for filing on October 25, 2012 and states,
“…SEVERAL YEARS AGO HURRICANE IKE DESTROYED STATION KSTB(FM)’S ANTENNA COMBINER, TRANSMITTER BUILDING AND TRANSMITTER. CUMULUS HAS RETURNED KSTB TO THE AIR ON A TEMPORARY BASIS SEVERAL TIMES SINCE THE DESTRUCTION OF ITS LICENSED FACILITIES USING A TEMPORARY ANTENNA. MOST RECENTLY, CUMULUS RESUMED BROADCAST OPERTIONS OF KSTB WITH TEMPORARY FACILITIES AT VERY LOW POWER. THIS OPERATION PROVED UNSATISFACTORY AND WAS DISCONTINUED. SEE NOTIFICATION OF SUSPENSION OF OPERATIONS FILED SEPTEMBER 26, 2012.
CUMULUS HAS BEEN SEARCHING FOR A PERMANENT SITE FOR THIS STATION EVER SINCE HURRICANE IKE STRUCK. A SUITABLE SITE HAS PROVEN TO BE EXTREMELY DIFFICULT TO FIND, HOWEVER, GIVEN THE VERY LIMITED AREA AVAILABLE FOR KSTB TO LOCATE. CUMULUS, NEVERTHELESS, CONTINUES TO LOOK FOR A PERMANENT LOCATION FOR THIS STATION. ACCORDINGLY, PURSUANT TO SECTION 73.1635 OF THE COMMISSION’S RULES, CUMULUS RESPECTFULLY REQUESTS AN EXTENSION OF ITS SPECIAL TEMPORARY AUTHORITY TO ALLOW KSTB TO REMAIN SILENT WHILE IT SEARCHES FOR A PERMANENT SITE.”
According to FCC filings, the former commercial country music station KSTB initially went silent in September, 2008 after the station was “completely destroyed by Hurricane Ike.” The station’s leased transmitter building “and all of its equipment were washed away by this ferocious storm.” In the months following the storm, Cumulus told the FCC that “the Crystal Beach area was so devastated that it continues to suffer from the effects of Hurricane Ike. Re-building has been very slow, especially since the economy has taken a turn for the worst.” In 2009, KSTB managed to get on the air briefly in order to “preserve its license.” In 2010, the station was able to secure a new transmitter location in order to begin temporary broadcasts at low power, but again went off the air a short time later and has largely remained off the air ever since. Local listeners reported that during that brief return, the station aired a 1990s music format and branded itself “Energy” during on-air announcements.
Galveston Community Radio’s website states that the initial group of directors for the organization include the husband and wife team of Jerry and Sandra Stern. The website states that radio industry veteran Jerry Stern oversaw a large radio station group that merged with Clear Channel.
Galveston Community Radio is not only reaching out to Cumulus directly, but is also encouraging citizens to sign a petition and write letters to the FCC on their behalf.
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