JPR Foundation ends bid for Yreka radio station

Jefferson Public Radio Foundation has withdrawn its offer to acquire Yreka, Calif., country radio station KSYC-FM, avoiding a potentially protracted battle for what the organization said it hoped would be a simple signal upgrade.

Ashland-based JPR has run its News and Information channel over KSYC-AM since 2002, but earlier this year was informed its tower lease would not be renewed when it expired in October. JPR then struck a deal with owner Lee Jamison to purchase an option to buy the FM station this fall.

However, on Dec. 7, the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to notify the Federal Communications Commission of its opposition to the sale after citizens circulated petitions to protect their country music station.

"When you buy a radio station, usually FCC approval success is very high," JPR Executive Director Ron Kramer said. "When the supervisors went on record as opposing the purchase of the station, we didn't think it would be worth going forward."

JPR's KSYC-AM 1000-watt signal covers roughly the northern half of Siskiyou County. Although it continues to broadcast the News and Information programming, the station could go dark when a new owner takes possession of KSYC-FM. Kramer said JPR will talk with the station's next owner.

"Whoever controls the property controls the destiny of KSYC-AM," Kramer said. "We had no advanced knowledge that the Board of Supervisors would intervene. When we decided not to pursue the station, it was not in response to the merits of the supervisors' arguments. But the opposition of elected representatives put it on a different plane."

Kramer said Siskiyou County is one of JPR's smaller listener-supported markets and is the smallest county to receive all three of the system's programming services.

"We felt some obligation to protect what those people have had," he said. "It is not a community sizable enough to provide a significant part of our budget. If we add one service we get X-amount from listeners. But if we add a second service, we don't get 2X. It's incremental."

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or e-mail

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