Honolulu radio station to go Hispanic-Christian


POSTED: Friday, September 18, 2009

KORL-AM 1180 has been sold by Kauai-based broadcaster George Hochman to a California-based church for $350,000 in a deal pending before the Federal Communications Commission.

Hochman could not be reached, but according to documents filed with the FCC, the station's call letters — which bear a long heritage in Honolulu radio — will not be included in the sale.

Centro Cristiano Vida Abundante Inc. operates a small network that broadcasts round-the-clock Spanish-language Christian programming on radio and television stations in the U.S. and in several countries around the world via the Internet, satellite and cable.

Despite the impressive-sounding global reach, the buyer's annual receipts are no more than $6.5 million a year, according to documents filed with the FCC.

The church is the licensee of KDBV-AM 980 in Salinas and KJDJ-AM 1030 in San Luis Obispo, Calif., as well as KYUM-LP, a low-power TV station on Channels 2 and 15 in Yuma, Ariz., but its programming is also carried on other stations in California and Arizona.

Church leadership could not be reached, but the network airs “;a mix of talk and music and it's live most of the day,”; said James Primm, the California-based attorney who represented the church in the deal. Primm also used to own KJMQ-FM 98.1 in Lihue, which he sold to Hochman in 2007.

Church officials will come to Hawaii in “;a couple months,”; Primm said, to celebrate the launch of its programming.

The Rev. Manuel Sanchez Sr. and his son, Manuel Jr., host shows on the air, as do other personalities.

Hochman either owns or has interests in seven other radio stations in Hawaii, including KPHI-AM 1130, KORL-FM 101.1 and an FM translator at 101.5 on Oahu; KITH-FM 98.9, KTOH-FM 99.9 and KJMQ-FM 98.1 on Kauai; KONI-FM 104.7, licensed to Lanai City, and KRKH-FM 97.3 on Maui.

Hochman-McCann has an application pending with the FCC to move KORL's frequency to 1170 AM and to reduce power from its currently authorized 1,000 watts to 330 watts during the day and 140 watts at night.

The power reduction is a move to shield the FCC monitoring station in Waipahu from interference, the bane of many an isle radio station.

Reducing power could pose a problem for listeners, said broadcast engineer Ernie Nearman, owner of Honolulu-based Broadcast Resources Co.

“;There are too many 1170 (AM) signals that are gangbusters from the mainland,”; so that at night the mainland stations will “;crash over”; a local station operating on that frequency at such low power, he said.

Centro Cristiano Vida Abundante was cited by the FCC in April of last year for operating an unlicensed satellite earth station and was ordered to suspend its operation immediately. The church had filed an application to fire up the earth station, but as of that date the application had not been granted by the commission.

No subsequent record of the license application or update on the citation could be found in various searches of the FCC Web portal.