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Border Blaster Continues to Interfere with kpfK Signal

by Myla Reson Thursday, Jul. 15, 2004 at 4:38 PM

Yesterday afternoon power failed on Mount Wilson and Pacifica's kpfK ceased transmission for over one hour. Most LA listeners tuned to 90.7 FM could clearly hear classical musical being broadcast from Tijuana station XLNC.

Border Blaster Continues to Interfere with Pacifica's

Southern California Station

Los Angeles, CA

July 14, 2004

by Myla Reson

According to Pacifica's broadcast engineer Don Mussel,

Tijuana/Chula Vista based XLNC "has caused

interference to KPFK in Los Angeles" since its "very

first day of broadcasting". That day was Valentine's

Day 2000.

For close to four and one half years strains of

compositions by Franz Schubert, Erik Satie, Ludwig Van

Beethoven and other classical greats have drowned out

portions of Democracy Now!, Uprising host, Sonali

Kolhatkar and other important public affairs shows on

the Pacifica Foundation's Southern California station.

Both the Mexican station and KPFK are licensed to

broadcast at the frequency of 90.7 FM, but for nearly

four and a half years XLNC has been ignoring many basic conditions of its license permit.

XLNC is out of compliance in a number of significant


1) It is licensed to broadcast at 1 kW - it broadcasts

at between 30 - 40 kW.

2) It's broadcast tower is much closer to the border

than the location allowed by law and specified in its


3) The transmitter is 400 feet higher than the

height allowed on its permit.

4) Instead of using an omnidirectional transmitter as

required, the classical music station has a massive

antenna system aimed north towards San Diego and Los


The result is devasting for many KPFK listener

sponsors. Classically trained opera singer Hope Foye

who resides in the Southern part of the KPFK signal

area goes to extraordinary lengths to listen to

Democracy Now!. This protege of the late, great Paul

Robeson must climb into her car and drive up a hill to

hear Amy Goodman's show on weekday mornings. Foye

fears that her lifetime love affair with classical

music is seriously threatened by the nuisance of

interference with her most trusted source for news and

public affairs programming.

The interfernce, however is not limited to Long Beach

and San Pedro. The contours of the land are often a

determining factor. In canyons and Northern coastal

parts of KPFK's signal area KPFK's broadcasts are

often interrupted by its Southern rival.

Over a year ago KPFK launched a campaign to get

listeners involved by urging them to contact the FCC.

To date, KPFK listener sponsors have not received a

detailed report back with respect to the results of

the campaign, but on May 27, 2004 the station's

General Manager made the following statement at a

meeting of the KPFK Local Station Board:

"Probably most of you will be familiar with the

problem that we have with XLNC frequency and that I've

been working on this for two years. What happened

initially was that XLNC was in financial trouble and

they cut a deal through the FCC where KUSC to do

programming on their frequency (which is our

frequency). After negotiations with KUSC's general

manager they have put a hold on their programming deal

with XLNC. And today XLNC is in dire straits and not

able-- well there's not much hope for them to continue

with broadcasting. I spoke-- we shouldn't be cheering,

that's a public relations issue-- So-- part of what we

talked about earlier in this year with XLNC's general

manager was for them to apply for a transfer to

another frequency. And just before I came here I had a

discussion with the GM from XLNC Mexico, and they've

actually applied to be transfered from our frequency

to another frequency. And they've actually got an

official o.k. from the Communications-- the Ministry

of Communications Department in Mexico to support the

transfer. That's the good news. The challenges here--

and I'll start working with our engineers and FCC

attorneys tomorrow on this-- the challenge becomes

that now we have to from our side get the FCC to

support this position because there's a treaty between

Mexico and the U.S. What was interesting that I found

out tonight was that the frequency 90.7 FM that's ours

at KPFK? [laughs] belongs to Mexico and not the United

States. So according to the treaty-- I think the

treaty was passed in 1996. I think we have a really,

really good chance with winning our frequency back--

our frequency back. If we can push a campaign to get

the FCC to move-- to agree to the transfer because

this is the first time we've gotten any response from

the Mexican government. And the alternative to it is

either they move XLNC or XLNC1 has to close down. And

I think that's why we're now getting their support. I

don't want to take questions on this issue I think

what I'll do is I'll just keep you updated when we

should be seeing a lot of things happening over the

next couple of weeks as we try and move forward both

legally and maybe another listener campaign to

influence the FCC's decision on this. So that I

thought was really an important issue to bring up here


KpfK's GM Eva Georgia's report is most notably

inaccurate with respect to the statement that the

frequency 90.7 fm "belongs to Mexico and not the

United States". Common sense (and an international

broadcast agreement) dictate that the frequency is

controlled by the United States north of the border

and to Mexico on the Mexican side. But the matter of

juridiction is further complicated by the fact that

the owner of XLNC operates in Chula Vista, California

and is registered as Califormula, Inc. with the

California Secretary of State.

If one goes to the website for XLNC and selects

"Reception Issues" the following statement appears:

"Classical 90.7 FM XLNC1 classical music radio station

is a non-profit, commercial-free institution, licensed

to broadcast in the San Diego/Tijuana region at 90.7

FM. When we were assigned the frequency of 90.7 FM by

the FCC in Washington, D.C. and SCT (Secretaria de

Communicaciones y Transportes) in Mexico City, we were

not aware that our broadcasts would be interfering

with the signal of KPFK 90.7 FM in Los Angeles. We

regret that, through no fault of our own, the FCC and

SCT licensed us to broadcast at the frequency of 90.7

FM, and we have formally requested a new frequency.

It is not our personal intention to interfere with the

ability of KPFK listeners to hear broadcasts from the

Los Angeles station in the Pacifica Network."

[ ]

If XLNC were following the conditions for broadcasting

set forth in its operating permit the matter of

frequency would not be a significant concern, and if

it would comply with those conditions in the interim

until a new frequency is granted it would be a great

demonstration of good faith.

Many KPFK listeners have wondered outloud whether

there are sinister forces at play, and XLNC is not

some kind of subrosa operation to keep important

information away from ears on Southern California

military bases. The writer of this piece cannot

confirm or deny such a scenario, but little comfort is

derived from the fact that XLNC owner Victor Diaz

leases his other Tijuana stations to Clear Channel.




"...Defunct WBAI High Culture Poetics and history means complete

obliteration of areas of both official and counter-culture from recorded

memory, auditory history. This defaults culture itself. It is not a

minority or majority matter, every world suffers, first, second and third,

and any more imaginable." - Allen Ginsburg, 1977


Report this post as:

Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 15 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
Simple Simple Simon Thursday, Jul. 15, 2004 at 7:21 PM
Addendum re XLNC Myla Reson Friday, Jul. 16, 2004 at 2:29 PM
XLNC- the CIA station Gary Sudborough Sunday, Jul. 18, 2004 at 12:56 PM
my question is... Sheepdog Sunday, Jul. 18, 2004 at 1:10 PM
fresca Now wait just a moment Sunday, Jul. 18, 2004 at 6:59 PM
after metal and hip hop heh Sunday, Jul. 18, 2004 at 7:28 PM
fresca ?????? Sunday, Jul. 18, 2004 at 8:42 PM
It means heh Sunday, Jul. 18, 2004 at 8:53 PM
fresca oh, I get it Sunday, Jul. 18, 2004 at 9:10 PM
Viva XLNC!! XLNC Monday, Jul. 19, 2004 at 2:58 AM
Hear KPFK on their web site Long live KPFK, down with the trolls Sunday, Jul. 18, 2004 at 12:14 AM
streaming audio more rational Tuesday, Jul. 20, 2004 at 10:30 AM
penicillin penicillin Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2007 at 12:14 PM

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