Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Is the Move-in moving out?

I've been watching the move-ins for years now. A move-in is when a radio staiton moves from covering a rural area on the outskirts of a big city to a new town; where it can cover way more big city and ually way less rural. It trades hay bales for ad sales and it's good for buisness, but is it good for aAmerica?

I've been pretty matter-of-fact about it. It's at the cost of rural service, and on the technical downside it causes more interference and "RF haze" in the downtown areas. That's inarguable, but is it a problem? The FCC like many of us initially considered it a nominal problem. But after a couple decades of successive move-ins rural areas it's escalated from trend to pandemic. The FCC has had some terse things to say about move ins. and recently went as far as to reject one.

Clear Channel filed papers to move-n WJCD on Norfolk. The FCC said no.

On paper, the plan to move Tidewater's WJCD, Windsor, VA 107.7 FM to Norfolk looks no different from dozens of other FM move- ins we’ve seen recently. The WSNJ nove in on Philly, the WIFE move-in on Cincinatti etc.

Under the plan WJCD’s class A stick would move to Norfolk, and sister station WKUS, Norfolk 105.3 would change city of license to Windsor, 20 miles to the west. The bonus being that WKUS would actually stay put. WKUS would serve first local service to Windsor in while continuing to serve its existing Norfolk coverage area. Nifty right?

The FCC agreed with Clear Channel's estimate that the move would add about a million additional listeners to WJCD’s coverage area without creating any new unserved areas (supposedly). But it’s suddenly concerned about migration of stations from rural to urban areas. This is a totally new idea at the FCC. It appears not to be policy exactly, but they went as far as to comment. They found that the existing allocations configuration, with WJCD as a class A way out in Windsor, better meets their public interest objectives. Is it a trend? I kind of hope so.