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FCC Cancels WKAJ Construction Permit

UTICA/ROME — Looks like Hank Brown won’t be returning to the radio as “your host for coffee and toast,” at least not on WKAJ 1120 as he announced last month.  Given the fact the station’s construction permit expired before Brown made the announcement, it’s no surprise the permit has been officially cancelled by the FCC.

In late December, the Utica Observer-Dispatch reported Brown’s plans to launch a morning show on WKAJ right after New Year’s.  The only problem: the article ran on December 27, but WKAJ’s construction permit expired on December 15.

The FCC website had no records of WKAJ’s owners requesting a “license to cover” (typically required prior to the CP expiration), nor any pleas to get the deadline extended — which left us scratching our heads, wondering why Brown would be paying to lease time on a station which, based on FCC records, would not be legally allowed to broadcast.

On New Year’s Day, the day before the show was expected to debut, the O-D ran an update, with Brown explaining his show would be postponed one week, “due to a technical problem with the station’s new transmitter.”  By that point, a full two weeks had passed since WKAJ’s construction permit had expired.

Some CNYRadio.com readers wrote in to report that they’ve never heard any audio on 1120AM within WKAJ’s expected coverage area, and there were some reports that tower construction was never finished.  CNYRadio.com attempted to verify these reports, but neither the engineer nor the attorneys listed in FCC filings as representing WKAJ responded.

The FCC’s website now says the CP is cancelled, effective today.  In a nutshell, WKAJ no longer exists, at least not in the capacity which had been proposed.

The December 15 expiration date already represented a two-month extension granted earlier in 2011, “to account for flooding and limited access at the tower site during the final two months of the permit due to Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee, and a tornado.”

7 Comments to FCC Cancels WKAJ Construction Permit

  1. Don’t count out that the WKAJ, St. Johnsville, NY cp has really been cancelled, as there are some behind the scene negotiations that are happening in Washington right now. Hank Brown may still have a new radio home. I’ll be watching to see if I’m right.

  2. Let’s get serious. Nothing personal, but strictly business. Who cares if Hank Brown gets back on the air. Yes, Hank is a nice guy. Stretches the truth, but a nice guy. Over the past 20-years that Hank has been on the various stations, he ended up with no ratings. Pretty much a blank. No listeners, except a few, age 70 till ? And advertisers don’t care about them. Hank is number one in his own mind, and that is it. Unless you’re over 70, most every person in this area has never even heard of Hank Brown. I understand this site has to report what’s going on in the media and that is great. However, there are a zillion other things going on that would take center stage before a show with pretty much a zero audience.

  3. WKAJ is owned by the same owners of WCSS, Amsterdam. It is my understanding that their Washington FCC Attorney is working with the FCC right now to get the CP extended. The “cancelled” indication is an automatic posting. You will notice that the CP website is still there. My sources tell me that the station has been built, but that they haven’t had the time to do the Antenna Proofs yet (There are three of them involved, a complete non-directional proof, a complete daytime antenna proof, and a complete Night-time proof). The huge equipment investment has been made, which, for four towers and a new 10 kw transmitter alone, are well over $100,000 dollars.
    I know, I’m a retired Radio Broadcast Engineer, hence the name Brdcstengnr. Also, I have no connection with Crainsville Block Company, Radio Station WCSS, or the permittee, WKAJ.

  4. I am the Operations Manager for Cranesville Block’s Radio Division. We have experienced severe weather delays in the construction of WKAJ. In addition, Preferred Tank and Tower was paid and left us without the completion of work. We were forced to obtain Northeast Tower to complete the job, which they did a fine job by the way. Construction is 98% complete. We have requested a reconsideration from the FCC and it is our hope they will allow us to begin testing as soon as possible.

  5. Now, you’ve heard it from Joe Isabel, who more or less confirmed what I’ve been saying. I live just a few minutes away from St. Johnsville, and I know all about the severe weather delays in the area. Best of luck, Joe, and I hope that you get your new station on the air soon. I’ll be listening.

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