MB 02-376 - REC opposes moving FM station from rural town to metro Tucson

Contraversial case would move an FM station from a rual Arizona town to the Tucson metropolitan area using the name of an Air Force base and using an FCC loophole.

REC has filed comments today in opposition to a allotment counterproposal that would have moved a rural FM station directly into the Tucson metropolitan radio market.

The proposal was made by the owner of KWCX in Willcox, Arizona. The proposal would have changed the city of license of KWCX from Willcox (pop. 3733) to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, just adjacent to the city limits of Tucson (pop. 486,699).

FCC policy calls for a community that is getting their "first aural service" as having a priority. Even though Davis-Monthan is very well served by the city grade signals of 13 FM stations, most of them licensed to Tucson, none are licensed to Davis-Monthan.

REC argues that even though other military bases are associated with allotments (such as Edwards, CA), the case of Davis-Monthan is different because unlike other cases cited by KWCX, Davis-Monthan AFB is not a community recognized by the Census Bureau.

KWCX also argues that as a part of their Tuck Analysis (a showing that the proposed community is independent from the major urbanized area) that Davis-Monthan has it's own local newspaper and local advertising market. REC argues that "newspaper" is actually published by the Public Affairs Office of the base and is not independent media. We compared it to Edwards, CA where there is an independent newspaper that covers Edwards and surrounding communities (none of which are urbanized areas).

REC feels that the proposed move would take Willcox's only FM station and move it to Tucson. KWCX proposes two allotments in Willcox to replace their moved station. REC stated that even though two allotments may replace their one, it will be a period of time before these stations will actually be on the air.

In order to accommodate this change, it will involve moving Mesa's KZZP (Kiss-FM, Clear Channel/Citicasters) transmitter location from the desirable South Mountain site to a ground level site co-located with KMVP (860AM, Emmis).

This counterproposal was made on an allotment proceeding by Rural Pima Broadcasting to create a new allotment for Sells, Arizona (pop. 2799), the primary community of the Tohono-Odham Nation.

A copy of our filing can be found at http://www.recnet.com/fcc/02-376e.pdf

MB Docket 02-376 RM-10690