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FCC paves way for new Sacramento radio station to launch next year

A new radio station could launch in Sacramento as early as next year on a FM spot once occupied by a legacy broadcaster with a storied past.

Earlier this month, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced it would auction off construction permits for around 130 unused FM frequencies across the country, including 10 in California.

Among the frequencies up for grabs is 107.9 FM in Sacramento. That frequency once carried Entercom’s KDND, branded as “107.9 The End,” a local radio station that was thrust into the national spotlight after a radio listener died during a water-drinking contest in January 2007.

In February 2017, Entercom announced its intention to merge with CBS Radio. Days after the merger, Entercom said it would surrender its broadcast license for KDND to avoid regulatory complications from the water-drinking contest. The company cited financial reasons, including anticipated complications from the water-drinking contest, as its reason for walking away from the license. Entercom moved “The End” to sister-station KUDL (106.5 FM) a short time later.

The frequency has sat unused for more than two years, largely due to the lack of a construction permit auction by the FCC. On October 10, the FCC announced it would consider bids for 107.9 FM in Sacramento and 130 other unused frequencies across the country, many of which are in rural communities.

The FCC says anyone interested in the 107.9 FM frequency must commit to a minimum bid of $100,000 when the auction opens next April. The minimum bid is the highest of the 130 stations up for grabs in the auction. It was not immediately clear if any commercial or non-profit radio operator was interested in the frequency.

The FCC is accepting public comments on the proposed auction until November 6.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).