It hasn’t been that long since we pointed out a new way the FCC does business with radio stations, and how the agency now handles such things as changing a station’s community of license.

In the past, in the process followed by Clear Channel to move the allocation of WJER-FM/101.7 Dover to North Canton, a company had to bring up a mountain of evidence to change an FM allocation – then, after that was approved, file a construction permit under that new allocation and wait for it to be approved.

101.7, of course, eventually got approval to move to North Canton as today’s AC WHOF(FM), otherwise known as “my 101.7”.

Under the new “one step” rules, the license community change is a “minor change”, and can be filed as a part of a new construction permit application.

That’s exactly what Clear Channel has just done with WHOF’s sister Canton-licensed hot AC, WKDD/98.1.

A reader we’ve never encountered before dropped us a note: why hadn’t we mentioned that WKDD has filed for a new COL of the Akron suburb of Munroe Falls?

The answer: we didn’t know.

But here it is in the FCC’s FM Query lookup.

You’ll notice, if you dig into it, that the new application basically only deals with the COL change, and does not propose any change in facilities for the station – which now broadcasts from a tower outside of Hartville in Stark County.

The application also has the evidence meant to support the change from Canton to Munroe Falls, including our favorite part, the inclusion of the Kimpton Middle School newsletter to parents as an “information source” aimed at Munroe Falls residents.

Why is Clear Channel doing this?

Just a guess here, which would seem to be a valid one: they’re “planting the flag” for some sort of future move of the 98.1 facility into the Akron market.

Not the station itself, per se. The report on ownership attached to the application notes that 98.1 is already attributed into the Akron Arbitron market, which obviously wouldn’t change with the new COL.

But the new application doesn’t specify a technical facility change.

Another guess here: any physical move of the 98.1 facility north would require a lot of technical coordination with facilities like, just to name three, second-adjacent CBS classic rock WNCX/98.5 Cleveland, and two sister Clear Channel first-adjacent stations: classic rock WXXR/98.3 Fredericktown, and newly-dropped-in country WYBL/98.3 “The Bull” in Ashtabula.

While those last coordinations are “in-house” for now, of course, Clear Channel has filed to sell WYBL and its sister Ashtabula stations to Tom Embrescia’s “Sweet Home Ashtabula”, and WXXR will eventually end up with a new owner as well.

One presumes if Clear Channel eventually has any designs to nudge WKDD/98.1 north, physically, the company would make an agreement of some sort with the new buyers for mutually-acceptable engineering.

Anyway, the application makes the argument that since no technical facilities changes are proposed within it, spacing rules don’t need to be considered.

At least, yet…


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