Our story about Sun Radio [link] generated several reader comments. Most of the folks we heard from praised the innovative broadcasting voice the serves the Austin, Texas area. Also, we received four comments from readers asking the same thing: Is what Sun Radio is doing legal? This comment was typical:
While I certainly applaud the overall intent of Sun Radio. And I don't want to be the fly in the ointment, but how is Sun Radio legal with KDRP involved? You can't rebroadcast another radio station's programming on an LPFM license.
We referred this question to Daryl O’Neal, the founder of Sun Radio. His reply makes sense. Note: I am not a lawyer or an engineer, so I’d appreciate feedback from people who are more familiar with FCC rules,
O’Neal told us that Sun Radio is not a radio station, it is a syndicator that provides a 24/7 program stream. Each affiliated station decides how much of the network feed they want use. All of stations air local programming. FM translator repeat their primary station.
There is self-generated local programming on KDRP including local sports and community news. KDRP and other stations chose when, and for how many hours, they use Sun Radio’s audio feed.
Here is a rundown of the stations and translators in the Sun Radio group:
• KDRP-LP (103.7 FM), Dripping Springs, Texas is owed by the Principle Broadcasting Foundation. Principle is a nonprofit organization that is separate from Sun Radio Foundation. Keep in mind that Sun Radio is not KDRP; they are two different entities.
• KTSN-FM (88.9), is licensed to the town of Blowout, Texas, near Johnson City. Sun Radio Foundation owns the station.
• 106.9 FM, serving the Fredericksburg area, is a translator that repeats KTSN-FM. Sun Radio Foundation owns the translator.
• KCTI (88.1 FM) is licensed to the town of Gonzales, Texas. Sun Radio Foundation owns the station.
• 99.9 FM, San Marcos is a translator that repeats KCTI-FM. Sun Radio Foundation owns the translator.
• 100.1 FM, Austin, is a translator owned by Sun Radio Foundation. It repeats programming from KLZT-HD3, which is also owned by Emmis Media. Programming from the HD channel is repeated on 100.1FM. The other stations get their audio from private IP channels
• KTSN-AM 1490, Austin, is owned by the Sun Radio Foundation and repeats KTSN-FM.
Sun Radio also allows other small noncommercial stations in Texas to use their 24/7 program feed for free. According to O’Neal, these stations include KOWO, Wimberley; KMSN, Mason; KTHE, Llano; and, KTHE’s translator at 96.1 FM in Hutto, Texas.
AFTERSHOCK AT PACIFICA AFTER THE AGREEMENT WITH THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING
The recent agreement between Pacifica/WBAI with the Empire State Realty Trust (ESRT) received praise in media coverage [link].
In fact, the best reporter on the radio beat, Tom Taylor [link] said interim Executive Director Tom Livingston and Marc Hand from the Public Media Company should be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.
That might be hyperbole but observers seem to agree that progress is being made.
Not everyone in Pacifica-land approves the deal. We received an anonymous comment from a person who thinks Pacifica did not provide its due diligence before agreeing to the FJC loan:
“Not all observers consider the $3.7 million loan a sign of internal progress. It was more like internal bullying. There is no way Pacifica can comply with any of the financial provisions required by the lender. There is no apparent way to pay it back.”
|R. Paul Martin|
The reaction by R. Paul Martin, WBAI’s Treasurer and member of the Local Station Board. was even more negative. Martin said in memo:
“On April 5, 2018, the interim Executive Director [Tom Livingston] sent out a press release announcing a settlement with the Empire State Realty Trust (ESRT) and a series of agreements that will allow WBAI to get out of the last two years of its lease at the Empire State Building (ESB) as of May 31, 2018.
“Funding for the settlement was provided through a loan from the non-profit lender FJC. The [finance committee] has not received any financial documents related to this loan. There is a Pacifica policy…that any financial endeavor above a certain magnitude must be sent to the [finance committee] for review.
“This policy has not been adhered to in this case. The result is that the NFC is officially mostly in the dark regarding the details of the largest financial transaction in the history of Pacifica.”
Martin continues to recite Pacifica “rules” as if they were Federal law:
“Article Three, Section 5 of the Pacifica bylaws says that all Pacifica members will get to vote…yada, yada, yada…
People within Pacifica treat internal corporate policies as if they are permanent dictates. Actually, all of these rules can be erased by the stroke of a pen.
A major portion of Pacifica’s dysfunction is caused by these arcane, useless rules. They are like a security blanket that Pacifica's lifers can't give up.
These folks remind us of a bunch of Scientologists. They believe deeply in what they are saying, but, at the end of the day it is meaningless. Pacifca's rules are used to keep certain people in power. Perhaps Pacifica would be better off if they had only one committee, the National Board of Directors.
KEN SAYS: We are impressed by what Livingston and Hand have accomplished but everyone knows there is still a long way to go before Pacifica is solvent.
We like the quiet way things are moving. Livingston and Hand have gotten things done, rather than just talking.
They aren’t taking part in the endless second-guessing or meaningless factions. Let’s hope things keep moving that way.