is a low-power
commercial television station
in Anchorage, Alaska
, broadcasting on VHF
channel 6, taking advantage of that station's audio signal on 87.75 MHz FM
. The station is one of very few low-power television stations that operate predominantly as a radio station by way of the fact that many FM radio receivers can tune in a VHF channel 6 television audio carrier at 87.7 FM. This technique is made more potent due to a formerly unforeseen interpretation of deregulatory language in FCC low-power television station regulations:
Sec. 73.653 Operation of TV aural and visual transmitters.
The aural and visual transmitters may be operated independently of each
other or, if operated simultaneously, may be used with different and
unrelated program material.
This means that KOAN-LP need not broadcast any particular image so long as it broadcasts a video signal and that the audio and video need not be technically synchronized.
KOAN-LP started under this theory of operation with the call sign KZND-LP
in July 1999. The station, under the auspices of operator Ubik Broadcasting, began broadcasting a modern rock format in FM Stereo marketed as 87.7 "The End". Anchorage area radio competitors saw then KZND-LP's entry into the market as cheating, so they raised a complaint with the FCC
. The agency concluded that it was not sufficient for KZND-LP to show the ability
to broadcast video, but must actually do so to operate as a low-power station. KZND-LP complied by broadcasting still pictures and later augmented the video feed by installing a camera in the studio for use during the live morning show.
In early 2007 the modern rock format and call sign KZND
became available on a newly acquired conventional FM signal, 94.7 MHz FM. The KZND radio format was simulcast on both facilities until July 2007 when the low-power station was switched over to simulcast KWMD
and its call sign changed to KOAN-LP.
The predominant reason for the move of the modern rock format to the FM band was that since Arbitron would not rate KZND-LP as a radio station, the operation consistently underperformed in terms of revenue. Despite KZND-LP's popularity among the Anchorage radio audience, Arbitron bowed to the wishes of Anchorage area radio groups who subscribed to the Arbitron service. Notably, this discrimination distorted the Arbitron ratings of the periods affected by omitting a significant portion of the Anchorage area radio listening audience from the statistics.
Arbitron has reportedly made some accommodations for providing ratings for WNYZ-LP, New York. However, the PPM rating system is not available in many radio markets and Arbitron ratings will not accurately reflect the radio audience so long as Arbitron omits low-power operations of the KZND-LP mold from overall market reporting.
The future of KOAN-LP on 87.7 is in some doubt, as the channel 6 channel position has been assigned to KYES
for digital broadcasting, after the analog signal is discontinued in 2009. However, recent information from Fireweed Broadcasting President Jeremy Lansman
indicates that KYES
will remain on channel 5, post DTV conversion. Fireweed Communications has been assigned a digital companion channel for KOAN-LP on channel 3.
It appears that the unusual strategy pioneered by licensee Fireweed Communications and previous operator, Ubik Broadcasting, may have a lasting impact -- in 2004, former TV weatherman Jeff Chang began his own low-power station on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, which he claims was inspired by KZND-LP. At least two other facilities, WNYZ-LP and KSFV-LP, are owned and operated under the same regulatory provisions by long time acquaintances of Jeremy Lansman, owner of KOAN-LP licensee Fireweed Communications.