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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Sen. Hutchinson files to suspend operation of radio station

Posted By on Wed, Feb 26, 2014 at 2:36 PM

click to enlarge SUSPENDING OPERATIONS: Senator Hutchinson's radio station.
  • SUSPENDING OPERATIONS: Senator Hutchinson's radio station.
Radio KEWI-AM in Benton has filed notice of intention to suspend operation. Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson is now listed as managing member of Saline River Media, which operated the station, according to a filing with the Federal Communications Commission.

The filing last week gave notice of a decision to go silent Feb. 7. The filing said:

This is an AM station with insufficient revenues to continue operations without additional investment and improvement of facilities. The licensee has formulated a plan to bring in new ownership and restore operations on a sound basis. It will apply in the near future for consent to a transfer of control and an assignment of license that will lead to effectuation of the plan, with a commitment to rapidly return to the air after consummation. The operations under new ownership and management will lead to greatly improved public service. When the applications have been filed the licensee will request a silence STA to provide time to restore operations under new ownership.

Hutchinson put the station in the news last year when he directed $5,000 in state surplus money to a Saline County July 4 fireworks show. The station promoted it and played patriotic music during the event. Hutchinson and partner Grant Merrill got into the business in October 2011.  Secretary of state records show Saline River Media's corporate license has been revoked for nonpayment of franchise taxes.

The station's phone number is not currently working.

UPDATE: I reached Hutchinson. He said he and Mike Wilkins of Russellvillle had bought Merrill out and had plans to get the station re-established soon. (He only became managing partner with ownership reorgnization. Merrill had been the operating member of the ownership group previously.) He said the station would be an ESPN affiliate and continue to cover local high school sports. He said he was unaware until I told him that the corporation's license had been revoked for failure to pay the franchise tax. "I guess I'll go down there today and pay that." He said he was bound by an agreement with Merrill not to discuss the circumstances that led up to the split.

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