East Texas radio staple off-air indefinitely

By Jena Johnson - email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Local radio station KJ103, which has been a part of the East Texas airwaves for more than 60 years, is now static.

According to Stephen Yates, owner of Yates Media and who was leasing the station, the owner of KJ103 pulled the plug on the station a short time ago following a conflict with Yates.

"It was unexpectedly terminated in the middle of the night," Yates said.

Yates said the conflict began when Bill Vance with Radio License Inc. stopped paying the expenses they agreed to pay. Yates said he then stopped paying the company his part of the leasing agreement, instead paying creditors directly. That is when the Radio License Inc. pulled the station off the airwaves.

According to the FCC, Radio License Inc. filed to go silent on Dec. 7. The rules state the station may limit or discontinue operation for a period of not more than 30 days without further authority from the FCC.

Yates Media obtained the lease with an option to buy the station in May 2008.

So for now, Yates Media is back to square one. But Yates says 2010 could be a different story.

"2010 looks really positive for Yates Media," Yates said. "People are starting to adverse more. People are starting to buy more. Things are really looking good, positive. We've seen a spike in the 4th quarter."

A call to Vance for comment was not immediately returned.