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STAR 94.3 sold; new station starts

One of Nevada County’s local FM radio stations was sold last week for nearly $3 million to a Texas-based broadcasting company, while initial steps were taken to create a new station here.

KNCO-FM – better known as STAR 94.3 – was sold for $2,965,000 to First Broadcasting Co. LP, whose chairman and chief executive officer, Ronald Unkefer, founded the electronics chain The Good Guys.

“Yes, it’s true we have entered into an agreement to sell KNCO-FM,” Bob Breck, CEO and general manager of Nevada County Broadcasters, said from a radio convention in Arizona.



STAR 94.3, which describes its programming as “popular adult hits of the ’80s, ’90s and today,” features the “All Star Morning Show” with Michelle Shockley and Tom Fitzsimmons, and DJs Greg Jannetta, George Rath, Alan Kabel and Pat Day, most of whom will remain at the station’s AM operation.

Breck said KNCO “battled it out for 10 years” with a radio station in Jackson, Amador County’s county seat, that has the same frequency. KNCO’s operators hoped the Federal Communications Commission would rule in their favor for a wider signal band. Both stations filed applications to bump the other one to another frequency, Breck said.




“Ninety-four point three is a pretty desirable frequency,” he explained.

Both stations were “short-spaced” on the dial, he said; when KNCO-FM was off the air, Nevada County residents could get the Jackson station, and vice versa.

First Broadcasting Co. bought the Jackson station, then approached KNCO-FM. Nevada County Broadcasters’ 19 shareholders agreed to the sale.

“It was hard,” Breck said, but KNCO-AM “has always been the big gun for the company.”

The frequency should change its call letters in January or February, Breck said. The shareholders are looking for other broadcast properties.

Meanwhile, a company called Grass Valley Broadcasting was granted a construction permit by the FCC for a FM station using the frequency 103.3. (The Union was unable to identify the company’s owners or principals by press time.)

The company beat out eight other applicants for the permit.

“We don’t know too much about them,” Breck said about Grass Valley Broadcasting. “We don’t know what their plan of attack is.”

“Looks like we’re going to have a new station in town,” he added.


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