Rich Broadcasting’s four stations in Jackson Hole WY are set to go dark on Wednesday, March 8 over a dispute with American Tower on what the company owes.
Owner Robert Mecham has been trying to negotiate down the $500,000 the company owes in back rent claiming that the rent that the company pays is not commensurate with the size of the market. Mecham told the Jackson Hole News & Guide that “We have tried and tried and tried to work out a deal On Wednesday those stations are going dark.”
A letter to American Tower’s attorney that Mecham shared with the newspaper questioned why none of the monthly fees seem to make sense. Rich Broadcasting pays $750 per month for 90kW/315m KJAX using a 14 bay antenna, while 50kW/323m KMTN and 100kW/322m KZJH pay $3000 each per month. He also asks why stations in markets like Boise, much larger than Jackson Hole reaching many more potential listeners pay less than he does. As part of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing last year, Rich Broadcasting sought to have the money owned cut down to $150,000.
Rich Broadcasting owns Country 93.5 KJAX, Classic Rock “KZ 95.3” KZJH, AAA “96.9 The Mountain” KMTN, and News/Talk 1340 KSGT/96.3 K242BU which simulcasts sister 590 KID Idaho Falls ID. The company acquired those stations along with three stations in Sun Valley ID from Chaparral Broadcasting in 2013 for $3.7 million.
In preparation of potentially losing their tower site, Rich Broadcasting relaunched the online streams for the KJAX, KMTN, and KZJH today.