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FCC Approves Assignment of KRNM Licenses (September 16, 2009)

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently approved the Northern Marianas College’s application to assign its KRNM licenses to Guam-based Marianas Educational Media Services (MEMS), who has offered to continue public radio format broadcasting in the CNMI.

The College had submitted its complete application to the FCC last July, after extensively reviewing it to ensure compliance with all applicable FCC requirements. Among other requirements, the College was asked to publicly announce its intent to reassign KRNM’s license for notification purposes and public comment back in July.

NMC will now be able to transfer KRNM’s 88.1 FM and 89.1 FM licenses to MEMS.

Since the College ceased subsidizing KRNM operations to focus its resources on its core academic programs, public radio services continued to be broadcasted through an agreement with KPRG, a non-profit radio station on Guam.

KPRG regularly airs “BBC World Service,” and programs from National Public Radio (NPR) and Public Radio International (PRI), which feature programs such as “All Things Considered,” “World Café,” “Fresh Air,” “Blue Monday Micronesia,” and other radio shows.

“We would like to thank the listening community for their continued support, especially those who contributed financial resources to KRNM,” said NMC President Dr. Carmen Fernandez. “Those generous donations went a long way in diversifying the type and content of radio programming available to listeners in the CNMI.”

Programs aired by the Marianas Education Media Services will also include educational programs, cultural features, and national news from news organizations like National Public Radio (NPR).

“We are pleased that MEMS has agreed to continue to broadcast the great educational and cultural programs that CNMI listeners have enjoyed all these years,” added President Fernandez.

KRNM was originally established with federal funds in 1998 when the FCC granted the College a license to broadcast non-commercial public radio programming. The radio station set out to become self-sustaining with external funding. The goal was never reached, however; and, for the past 10 years, KRNM was heavily subsidized by NMC.

The NMC Board of Regents voted in a September 2008 meeting to support the assignment of KRNM licenses to a nonprofit, educational entity.

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