UTICA-ROME -- Radio station 1450 WKAL is supposed to be back on the air tomorrow, but the station's owner has asked the FCC for more time to complete construction of a new studio space in Rome.
After signing-on briefly last May, to meet an earlier deadline to resume operations, the station went dark once again, with a new "Special Temporary Authority" granted by the Commission. That latest STA is set to expire tomorrow, but WKAL's owner, California-based Tune In Broadcasting, LLC, requested an extension on Friday, which has already been "Accepted for Filing" by the FCC.
In the extension request, Tune In says construction of a new studio space is still in progress, with plans to get the station back on the air sometime in March. Earlier, the FCC had said that if broadcast operations were not resumed by May 7, 2013, the license would be cancelled.
Tune In purchased the station nearly two years ago from Bible Broadcasting Network (BBN). Because BBN operated the station with non-commercial status, it had received a waiver for the FCC's usual requirement for radio stations to maintain main studio. Tune In's purchase of the station came with a change to commercial status, meaning the studio requirement is back in effect.
Tune In's purchase of WKAL (formerly WYBY and WRUY) included the transmitter building and the land it sits on in Rome, but not the towers, satellite dishes or any other equipment. As a result, Tune In blamed the first year of silence on the need to find and acquire space for a studio. Friday's application reveals space has been found (we received a tip that Tune In is renting space along Black River Boulevard in Rome) and the studio construction is underway, but not complete enough for the station to get back on the air by Monday's deadline.
Still no word on what kind of programming WKAL will carry when broadcasting resumes.