KAFM Community Radio
A Description & Brief History of the State of our FM Signal
How We Got Here
KAFM went on the air on March 5, 1999. That day was the culmination of seven years of hard work, frustration, boredom and hope for the small group of volunteers who created it. At many times during those seven years, it looked like it would never happen.
Grand Valley Public Radio, Inc. was incorporated in June, 1992 and the initial application for KAFM was filed in 1993. What followed for the next seven years was a series of filing applications, legal maneuvers and periods of inactivity. We waited for the Federal Communications Commission to rule on various requests or to lift freezes on filing applications. Glaciers have been known to move faster than the FCC. We waited for friends who were engineers or lawyers working for free to find the time to fit us in their schedules to complete complicated applications. We waited and hoped.
In 1995, we attempted to move our frequency from 88.1 to 100.7 MHz to provide better coverage in the Valley. Due to FCC regulations, our application -- along with eleven other applicants who opposed us -- was frozen, in essence putting our efforts in limbo for an unspecified period of time. We ultimately failed in our attempt to get a higher power level and it looked like KAFM would never go on the air. The Board of Directors at that time was not interested in putting KAFM on the air at the low power level dictated by the FCC.
In 1997, as a result of congressionally mandated changes at the FCC, we received an unheard of settlement of $40,000 for our attempt to move our frequency to 100.7 MHz. We decided to put KAFM on the air at 88.1 despite the low power level. We figured we could keep our eyes open and in the coming years increase our power by the FCC application process or by buying an existing station. This has been easier said than done as the pressure on the FM spectrum has gotten intense and available channels almost nonexistent. We continue to be on the lookout for better signal coverage, but the options are limited.
History of KAFM Signal Increase Endeavors
July, 1993 to April, 1994
KAFM applies to the FCC and is awarded 88.1 MHZ at 16 watts.
June, 1995 to August, 1997
KAFM petitions FCC to migrate from 88.1 MHZ to 101.7 MHZ at 46,000 watts as per published FCC regulations. FCC denies KAFM migration request. FCC invites KAFM to apply for 101.7 MHz in competitive commercial process. KAFM and 11 other applicants apply for 101.7 MHz. FCC has no procedure for mutually exclusive applications. All applications are frozen.
June, 1997 to December, 1997
FCC modifies application procedure to eliminate backlog of frozen applications. KAFM and 11 other applicants agree on a one-of-a-kind private auction process to determine winner of 101.7 MHz. Private auction proceeds and winning bid is $440,000 for 101.7 license. KAFM receives $44,000 as its share of auction and uses proceeds to put 88.1 MHz at 16 watts on air.
October, 1997 to March, 1998
KAFM starts negotiations with KCIC, Pear Park Baptist Church ,88.5 MHZ in Clifton for them to move their frequency to 88.7 MHz which would allow both stations to raise power levels. Colorado Public Radio signs on with 88.3 MHz frequency in Montrose, precluding power increase for both KCIC and KAFM. KAFM stuck at 16 watts.
March 5, 1999
KAFM signs on air at 88.1 MHz at 16 watts.
KAFM applies for translator frequencies 102.3 MHz in downtown Grand Junction and 96.9 MHz in Palisade. Other commercial applicants apply as well. The FCC has no system for mutually exclusive applications and the frequency is never awarded to anyone.
KAFM inquires of Pear Park Baptist Church of their willingness to entertain an offer to purchase KCIC, 88.5 MHZ in Clifton. They are not willing to sell.
KAFM inquires of Educational Media Foundation of their willingness to entertain an offer to purchase KLFV, 90.3 MHZ, in Grand Junction, a satellite repeater of the K-Love network. They are not willing to sell.
Ron Johnson offers to sell translator frequency 102.7, 10 watts from Black Ridge Communication Site, to KAFM for $20,000. We determine that the translator does not offer enough wattage to improve our situation.
KAFM offers Mesa College a deal to swap frequencies with KMSA. KAFM offers $200,000 cash plus the KAFM 88.1 frequency, valued at $76,000. Additionally, KAFM offers a broadcast internship program valued at $75,000. Further discussions ensue.
KAFM participates in FCC Auction #37 for commercial channel 98.5 MHz. Todd DeNeui of Highlands Ranch, CO outbids KAFM and all other applicants, paying $743,000 for the license.
KAFM offers KVNF Community Radio, Paonia $20,000 for their 99.1 translator frequency covering Grand Junction. KVNF rejects the offer.
KAFM increases offer to Mesa College. KAFM offers $300,000 cash or note plus the KAFM 88.1 frequency, valued at $117,000. Mesa College rejects the offer.