A dispute between Steve Edmondson and T. Reese Janca has prevented the sale of radio station KYRN-FM from being finalized, and the result may be that Socorro will lose its only live radio outlet. Although Socorro is also home to KMXQ-FM, that station broadcasts pre-programmed classic rock music at 92.9, but without live announcers.
KYRN has been on the air since 2012, and was originally operating out of a storefront on Manzanares Street by the late Bill Pace. Pace had previously owned KMXQ.
Edmondson acquired the outlet in 2014 and had been operating the station as Mine Country 102.1. That is, up until April, 2017.
That was when Edmondson accepted a job coaching college basketball in Iowa, and put the station up for sale. The operation of the station was eventually taken over by Janca, who rebranded the station as Rio Grande Valley Radio KYRN 102.1.
In a motion hearing in Seventh District Court Monday, Edmondson was asking – through his attorney Mark Filosa of Truth or Consequences – Judge Mercedes Murphy to determine whether or not the station should be shut down.
The Federal Communications Commission, which authorizes and approves the transference of broadcast licenses, has rules and regulations pertaining to the signing on and signing off of a radio station.
Who is responsible for turning off the signal is disputed by both parties.
“My understanding was...from the FCC lawyers...that it needed to be shut down to avoid FCC penalties and fines, which are quite substantial,” Edmondson told the Chieftain. He claims that Janca had not met terms of the purchase agreement, and therefore must relinquish operation of the station.
Janca maintains that he has met terms of the original agreement, and would not have the authorization to shut the station down, as he wasn’t the license holder.
Edmondson remains the license holder under the auspices of Socorro Community Radio, according to documents posted on the FCC website.
“Our position (for the court) was that the radio station was offered for sale. We entered an agreement to purchase the radio station. We had two years to fulfill the purchase agreement,” Janca told the Chieftain. “As part of that agreement they (Edmondson) were required to file FCC paperwork and...the paperwork was never filed.”
Janca is being represented by Socorro attorney Lee Deschamps, who said a counter claim will be filed in District Court for April 2.
Murphy postponed any decision until after the counter claim was filed.
On Tuesday, KYRN’s transmitter on M Mountain was shut down.
In the meantime the station’s signal is nothing but static.