Saga chucked KBAI Bellingham license

Saga Communications requested the cancellation of the license of 930 KBAI/Bellingham. The station’s Classic Hits “98.9 K-BAY” format moves to 98.9 K255DC and 92.9 KISM-HD3.

Saga kicked the AM to the curb with a shout-out on Facebook on March 15: 98.9 K-BAY is happy to announce that we will be transitioning away from our AM signal tonight at 8am and implementing HD listening at 92.9 KISM HD3, providing better quality and more reach for K-BAY listeners!
This move will not effect 98.9 FM or our online stream at 989kbay.com.
Happy listening!

Author: Jason Remington

Creator, Admin, & Editor of QZVX, former broadcaster at KTOY FM/Tacoma, KVAC/Forks , KDFL/Sumner, KTTX & KWHI FM/Brenham (TX), KONP/Port Angeles, KBAM/Longview, KJUN/Puyallup, KRPM FM/Tacoma, KAMT/Tacoma, KASY/Auburn, KBRD FM/Tacoma, KTAC/Tacoma, KMTT FM/Tacoma, and KOOL FM/Phoenix. -- Airchecks

3 thoughts on “Saga chucked KBAI Bellingham license

  1. Station operators can switch the originating source feeding the translator to the HD side bands of a co-owned station. It’s a license application and approval process. Yet another loophole that gets utilized frequently. See the Aberdeen/Hoquiam market. For example Jodesha Broadcasting utilized the HD 2,3,4 to feed various FM translator licenses and brands each as a separate product on air. Whether or not some of these stations (operators besides Jodesha, I have no idea how their translators are actually fed) are actually feeding the translators with an over the air signal is sort of an open question, they may be fed with an I.P. based STL, data circuit, RF path etc. Although technically they’re supposed to be fed with the HD source. There may be some more info regarding this subject someone else can elaborate on.

  2. That is the station SAGA purchased from my partners and I back in 1998. The sale closed (FCC approval) in 1999. After 25 years they pulled the plug on the AM side. After SAGA bought it they tried Hot Country with the call letters KIXT (KIX Country). Hot country, trying to lower the demographic on an AM in that era of FM, did not work. We had programmed more classic country because 35 to 54 years olds and older would still listen to AM back then. Then they changed calls to KBAI (tied to Bellingham Bay) and did a sort of music of your life format. Before long they bagged that for liberal talk (which fizzled in liberal Bellingham), and then they went with the current format (Classic Hits) which is sort of mellow oldies with a very tight playlist of probably mainly ’80s hits. All run off a computer, none of the songs are announced, very few spots, no regular news, no weather and lots of short station liners. Many of their liners seem like they are targeting younger folk than what would seem typical of the era of the music. As it turns out, SAGA had the station longer than anyone before. Tom Haveman put it on the air in 1958 and ran it for about 9 years until financial problems shut the doors. Fred Danz of SRO put it back on the air in 1968 and he ran it for 17 years. My company, Bellingham Broadcasting Corp purchased it from Danz in 1985 and sold it after 14 years when SAGA took control in spring 1999.

    The transmitter and towers sit on about six acres of what had been rural, and it is now very much residential, land. So if the towers come down, I imagine they could sell it for considerably more than what the AM signal is worth today. Shuttering the AM, they have kept the FM translator on the air. It’s antenna is attached to one of KPUG’s towers.. KPUG is actually quite close, a tad to the SE of the KBAI tower site. Initially the low power FM translators were part of the FCC’s efforts to save AM signals. I remember a few years ago that an AM requested permission to silence their AM signal yet to keep operating the translator. That request was denied. The commission said if the AM went off the air, so did the translator. That does not seem to be the case anymore. At this point the station at 930 AM, which had previously held the call letters KENY, KBFW, KIXT and KBAI, seems to still be on the air (low power FM only) by way of the translator and on a mutually owned FM subcarrier. Perhaps the state of AM radio has deteriorated so far at this point that the FCC will now allow the FM translator to remain on the air even after the original AM signal has gone dark.

    1. “Perhaps the state of AM radio has deteriorated so far at this point that the FCC will now allow the FM translator to remain on the air even after the original AM signal has gone dark.” Ghost stations…like KGY/Olympia, only KGY in name, a subchannel of KYYO transmitting from an FM translator.

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