A company called Socorro Community Radio applied to the City of Socorro for a business registration in June, giving rise to speculation that Socorro would soon have a radio station on the air again.
Bill Pace, owner of Socorro Community Radio, said in a telephone interview that he had hoped to rent the license for KYRN-FM 102.1, which is owned by a company called Sovereign City Radio Services, but negotiations stalled.
"There's still a little hope, but not a whole lot right at the moment," Pace said. "I really wanted to get service back there for the community."
The license for KYRN was granted by the FCC to Sovereign City Radio Services in February of 2009. For the past year, Socorro residents who tuned to 102.1 on the radio dial were able to hear KYRN via a low power broadcast relayed from a transmitter on private property at the north end of town. The broadcast was mainly music, including, for no apparent reason, quite a bit of Christmas music. KYRN stopped broadcasting earlier this year.
Pace said he had hoped to use the KYRN license to restore the services that used to be provided by KMXQ-FM 92.9, which went off the air in March. KMXQ provided country music programming and, more importantly, live radio coverage of Warrior football games.
"If there is the one most important thing for community service down there, it's high school sports," Pace said. "Also, being able to provide services in the event of emergency, or to cover special situations."
Pace once owned KMXQ, and he still has ties to the community.
According to KMXQ's former general manager, Virgil Vigil, Pace sold the radio station 10 years ago to a company called Roadrunner. After a couple of years, Vigil said, Roadrunner sold it to a company called Lakeshore Media LLC.
"For a while, everything went well," Vigil said. "We had bonuses at Christmas and everything."
The bonuses stopped, and the paychecks started bouncing.
"They made them (the checks) good, though," Vigil said.
Lakeshore Media's owner, Chris Devine, is currently embroiled in at least two lawsuits under the federal racketeering act, including a $70 million fraud and embezzlement suit filed in February 2009 and a another suit filed in March 2010, involving charges that he made false representations to get a multi-million dollar loan.
"That's news to me," Vigil said. "I didn't know anything about that. I never spoke with him."
Lakeshore Media sold the KMXQ license earlier this year for $60,000 to Cochise Media Licenses LLC, owned by Ted Tucker Sr. Cochise Media purchased only the license, not the station itself. The building, equipment, land and radio tower are still owned by Lakeshore Media.
Tucker told El Defensor Chieftain in a July 22 telephone interview that he has no plans to sell or move the license, and hopes to get KMXQ back on the air.
Although Tucker didn't mention a time frame for putting the KMXQ license into service again, the window of opportunity is limited by FCC regulations.
"My understanding is, you can go dark for one year," Pace said. "The license is already dark, so the clock is running. Even if the license is resold, the one-year rule still applies."
Meanwhile, Vigil hopes Pace will still be able to reach an agreement with Sovereign City Radio Services — and the sooner the better, as far as he's concerned.
The Warriors play their first game of the season on Friday, August 27.
Contact Suzanne Barteau