Radio repeaters on Kenai Peninsula shutting down

Posted: Wednesday, August 28, 2002

KENAI (AP) -- Seven FM radio repeaters serving areas on the Kenai Peninsula and Kodiak are set to be silenced Wednesday in compliance with a temporary court injunction requested by the Federal Communications Commission.

David Becker, president of Peninsula Communications Inc. of Homer, said in a statement that his company would comply with the injunction, ''although PCI believes it has the right to remain on the air.''

The long-running battle stems from a 1994 FCC rule change that ordered radio stations across the country to turn off repeater stations outside the coverage area of their parent station's signal.

Becker, who said he pioneered radio service to many of the affected areas in 1979, has argued that his translators are ''grandfathered in'' and allowed by a clause in the regulations that he said exempted translators in Alaska.

''When the FCC tightened the restrictions in 1994, on who could have translators where, Alaska was exempted from that decision,'' Becker said Monday. ''Now the FCC is ignoring that footnote.''

Last year, Becker's company defied an FCC order to shut down the translator stations, and filed an appeal in June 2001, questioning the legality of the order.

''It's amazing to me that you can get an injunction forcing this action when the underlying legality has not been determined,'' Becker said.

In a separate action, Becker has been ordered to a station-license revocation hearing in Washington, D.C., in September.

Becker said he plans to appeal any revocation decision as well.

Unaffected are Peninsula Communications' full-service radio stations, KPEN, KXBA, KWVV and KGTL. KGTL is an AM station.

While the repeater stations are off the air, Becker said KGTL AM 620 will broadcast simultaneously with KPEN. Listeners, particularly in the south peninsula area, will be able to hear the country-music format and the popular Rush Limbaugh broadcasts on AM radio.

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