Friday, November 02, 2012

AM station proposes major change

Peotone, Illinois: 640KHz:
New station proposes move

Birach Broadcasting, holders of a permit to build a new AM station at Terre Haute, Indiana, have requested permission to modify their permit to specify a facility that would serve Chicago. This involves a move of 206km (128 miles) to the north.

The Terre Haute facility would have run 250 watts day & night, with a directional antenna at night.

The proposal is to change the city of license to Peotone, Illinois. The transmitter would be located at 41-18-42N/87-50-08W. This is just west of Peotone, and between Kankakee and Joliet.

Power would be 4,800 watts daytime, 1,150 watts at night. A directional antenna would be used at all hours, with different patterns day & night.

This frequency became available when the previous licensee of a station on 640 at Terre Haute had their license revoked. The licensee had been convicted of serious felonies in a state court.


Unknown said...

Several people in Terre Haute, Indiana are fighting this move as Birach won an auction to build in Terre Haute and not in Chicago. The amount bid by Birach for Terre Haute was around $52,000 which would be nothing for a Chicago station. Besides, Terre Haute is only served by two radio companies owning only four commercial stations. The balance of stations are religious or college stations.

Doug Smith said...

I can certainly understand the concern, and it certainly is a backdoor method for getting a signal into Chicago.

However, I think there's little chance this request will be denied. This isn't a case of Terre Haute losing its *only* station -- there is another AM station (1480) and numerous FMs licensed to Terre Haute.

It's not a case of a rural area losing service to the big city (at least not in FCC terms), as Terre Haute is served by plenty of other stations.

I'm having a hard time figuring out how a new station on 640 at Peotone wouldn't interfere with the existing station on 640 at Zeeland in southwest Michigan.

However... the Zeeland station is also owned by Birach... and broadcasting groups like this are quite good at ensuring any application they file is technically acceptable. It's almost (but not quite) unheardof for an application like this to be found to cause prohibited interference.

tacrudy said...

I live in Lowell IN, about 20 miles east of Peotone IL; there are no listenable stations here on 640 kHz.

If the Peotone station happens, hopefully it won't be Mexican or religious. I have nothing against that type of station, it's just that there are several already.

I'd like to see a format like WEW, St. Louis; there are no AM's (or FM's) like that in the Chicago area.

Doug Smith said...

Interesting that you aren't hearing WMFN-640 from Michigan. I have relatives in Milwaukee, and when visiting WMFN is easy car radio reception there.

Of Birach's 23 stations, 13 are ethnic. (Spanish or other foreign-language) Two are religious. Others are sports, talk, oldies, or nostalgia.

And... Birach owns WEW. So there is some chance that format will be duplicated on the new station.

tacrudy said...

Hey, Doug - Take a look at WMFN's coverage map at: Milwaukee is inside and Lowell is just outside the fringe area for WMFN.

Doug Smith said...

Here's the link tacrudy is referring to.

AM interference standards are rather complex, but I believe the purple curve on this link is the area in which WMFN is supposed to be protected from interference.

When you note that WMFN's service area encloses Chicago, it certainly seems unlikely Peotone and Zeeland could operate simultaneously without interference!

However, read this: (scroll down to Exhibit 18)

And the mystery is solved. If the FCC grants the move of the Terre Haute station, Birach will return the WMFN license to the FCC for cancellation.

I guess that's one way to do it!

Tom Campbell said...

Thanks, Doug - It all now makes perfect sense; I just read that exhibit 18.

That makes it seems quite likely that the Peotone 640 AM will happen.