More FM radio choices are coming to the neighbor islands
BROADCASTERS and broadcaster-wannabes will start the new year bidding on a chance to build a radio station in Kihei, Maui, and eight other spots around the country.
Another opportunity, for a new Big Island FM station, will arise in early March.
The Federal Communications Commission is still trying to sell the construction permit for a Kihei station that will be at 107.5 on the dial, after the permit did not sell in two previous auctions. It is one of nine permits in FM Auction 68, beginning Jan. 10, and the minimum bid will be $90,000.
Of the companies approved for Auction 68 participation, pending the FCC's receipt of an upfront payment, two have expressed a specific interest in the Kihei property, while nine want the right to bid on all nine permits up for auction.
The paperwork of 19 other companies was deemed incomplete by the FCC, so they have until midday Monday to correct their applications. They include Hawaii-based Hawaii Public Radio Inc., Pacific Radio Group Inc. and Visionary Related Entertainment LLC.
The permit for the Big Island station, at 96.7 on the dial, will be one of 120 offered during FM Auction 70 beginning March 7. The minimum opening bid for the Kona permit will be $40,000.
The two most recent FM auctions, in 2004 and last January, drew what former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan might have called irrational exuberance.
In the 2004 auction, a construction permit in Mesquite, Nevada, got the highest bid, of $7.1 million, while a Wahiawa construction permit netted the 14th-highest bid of $2.2 million. In January the top bid of $6.7 million was for a permit in Indian Wells, Calif., while the eleventh-highest bid of $1.7 million was for a permit in Nanakuli.
The millions spent on the permits allow the winners to spend even more on lawyers and engineering studies, as well as actually build and operate the stations.
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4747, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org