Update 8/5/17 Press Release by Bryan Broadcasting
Before too long there’ll be a new way to listen to Navasota News in Navasota. Though there is more paperwork to deal with, in addition to 1550 AM and navasotanews.com, you’ll soon have an FM option as well.
Bryan Broadcasting General Manager Ben Downs says we have finally been able to file our application for a new FM translator on 98.7, and we expect to be on the air with it really soon, hopefully by the start of football season. Although, he adds, we ARE dealing with the federal government.
Downs says the new translator will be mounted on KWBC’s old tower on Peeples Street, which should effectively fill the hole that developed in our signal over downtown since the transmitter moved to Bryan.
He says he expects the coverage area to be very good, although probably not reaching all the way to Millican, he estimates it should go a good way toward there.
Downs has been arguing for this application window for years and says opening it allowed BBC to file for a translator for our sister station KAGC in Bryan as well as the one on 98.7 here.
Downs reports the FCC has given us every signal they are going to move quickly on the application, and if they do, he says we should be able to have it on before too deep into the football season. If not, however, he promises that Rattler games will be broadcast on Willy 97.7 until we can.
- Tom Turner advised that the FM Simulcast on 97.7 is now fully operational. Three ways to hear the station are on AM1550, FM97.7 and streaming live online at www.navasotanews.com.
- Management looks to be close to having the simulcast on FM ready in time for football season. Great news!
- "As far as the FM translator issue goes, the reply period finished as scheduled and now we are in the hands of the FCC itself. There is no timetable for any sort of ruling that could hurt or help us. That’s another thing that nobody ever believes, but it’s the world broadcasters live in. There are early AM rulemakings from the late 90s that are still open. We know this means “no”, but the FCC has no requirement to have an up/down decision; ignored is one of their options. All that said, I expect they won’t leave this ruling on AM/FM Translators hanging." Ben Downs.
- This morning, a Bryan Broadcasting representative advised that they've had ongoing discussions with the FCC to find a solution to the "Navasota Null." He advised that the FCC moves slowly, and changes to relevant rules or waiver requests for relocating a translater a greater distance away have so far not been achieved. On March 26, the FCC's comments period will close, but then reply comments will be sought and accepted. Thereafter, a change to rules may or may not be proposed by the FCC. A waiver of the rules regarding distance was requested by Bryan Broadcasting to the FCC but was not considered. May be able to switch to an FM simulcast if the FCC change their rules. Until the FCC changes their rules, there is not alot that can be done. So far, every solution proposed by Bryan Broadcasting to the FCC has been blocked by the FCC's current rules.
- Bryan Broadcasting has had some creative ideas come out, specifically about getting the station onto fm simulcast. But so far they haven’t been able to make it happen. Ben Downs is still trying to acquire an fm translator and have it mounted onto a tower to have an effective reach, including Navasota.
- The window to make this happen is Q1 of 2016. If not done by then, their next window to make a change will be Q1 2017.
- The FCC is aware of our petition. We spoke with the Chief of the Audio Division/Media Bureau with the FCC in Washington, D.C. They have offered KWBC Management (Bryan Broadcasting) an option for having service restored to Navasota. The proposal is for an FM translator to simulcast the AM station onto an FM station, thus restoring the reception in Navasota. There are two windows of opportunity for this to occur. The first is in Q1 2016. The other is in Q1 2017.
This option will require an additional financial investment by Bryan Broadcasting, who has expressed a desire and willingness to have the broadcast restored here. There is additional equipment to be purchased, and locating that equipment is more difficult than one might assume.
- Bryan Broadcasting is in receipt of the petition signatures, which numbered over the 500 we set out to gather. They were impressed with the community response and are working to have the broadcast restored within one of the two windows that the FCC has offered.
- Additional updates will be posted here and public notices will be sent via email and social media as additional information or news is received.