Galveston locals asking Cumulus for KSTB license


CumulusGalveston Community Radio is seeking to revive Cumulus’ silent KSTB-FM, which has been off air since Hurricane Ike hit in 2008, destroying its transmission facilities. Galveston Community Radio has asked Cumulus to donate its FCC license to the group. Cumulus so far hasn’t agreed, but Galveston Community Radio will keep asking.

“We’re not going away,” Sandra Stern, operations director for the nonprofit, told the Galveston Daily News.

Cumulus restored the station since the storm, but uses an auxiliary antenna to broadcast the minimum number of days required to keep its license.

Operation of the station isn’t financially viable, Cumulus told the FCC, which isn’t granting new licenses, Stern said.

Galveston Community Radio hopes public support via petitions and letter-writing campaigns to the company and the FCC would persuade Cumulus to donate the license.

If Cumulus agreed, Galveston Community Radio would create a station offering local news, emergency information and a mix of music with broad appeal, Stern told the paper.

Her husband, Jerry Stern, has 30 years in radio experience and is chairman of the board and general manager at Galveston Community Radio. Bill Wade, who has experience in major markets, has agreed to be on-air talent for the station.

A barrier island needs a radio station that can broadcast emergency news about weather and disasters, Sandra Stern said. If the group obtains the license, it likely would broadcast from an island storefront, encouraging locals to stop by and interact, she said. It also would cover local events, including school plays and football games and festivals.

Cumulus in 2002 paid station founder Irvin Davis $2.5 million for the station, then known as KSTB Star of the Bay. Cumulus promptly changed the format from AC to Classic Country.

See the Galveston Daily News story here

RBR-TVBR observation: Cumulus also owns CHR KRBE-FM in that market. It’s unlikely the non-profit station would be able to hurt ratings much. Since it’s not economically feasible to operate anymore, Cumulus is probably looking to sell the Class A license, rather than donate it. It paid $2.5 million for the station, so a donation is not the preferred option. However, if it may get a decent tax deduction in donating the license, it may be worth it if there are no good offers.