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KTPO
Bringing Rock to North Idaho
 
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Rock radio has found a home in North Idaho at KTPO 106.7 “The Point”. Dylan Benefield, general manager of Blue Sky Broadcasting, and Richard Voit, Jr., also of Blue Sky, have teamed up to bring a new sound to the north country. KTPO will be a live and local station covering community events.

Bringing Rock
To North Idaho!

Rock radio has found a home in North Idaho at KTPO 106.7 “The Point”. Dylan Benefield, general manager of Blue Sky Broadcasting, and Richard Voit, Jr., also of Blue Sky, have teamed up to bring a new sound to the north country. KTPO will be a live and local station covering community events.

  “It’s going to be a classic rock station from the 60’s on up,” Voit says. “We’ll be unique because we’ll not only play hits, but other songs on the album as well.”

  But how does a radio station come to be? The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) periodically holds online auctions for radio station frequencies in different cities across the United States. It’s strictly governed and bidders jump through high hoops to participate.

  “Nobody can fathom how stringent it is,” Benefield says. “They do it from time to time to generate money and it brings in millions of dollars.”

  In fact, this auction was the first of its kind and brought in over $146,000,000. One of the allotments or stations offered was for Kootenai, Idaho.

  “Somehow we were going to try and get this new station,” he says. “The auction was froze in 1998 which gave me time to build a game plan as to how we were going to get it. Rich and I hooked up and made a partnership to go after this allotment.”

  Before they could apply to join in the bidding, they had to develop a company, and came up with Hellroaring Communications. Oddly enough, they ended up bidding against the Calvary Chapel in Sandpoint.

  “They probably thought we were devil worshipers with a name like Hellroaring Communications,” Voit says.

  The name actually came from a popular recreation area near Pack River. Years ago, during catastrophic wildfires, locals nicknamed it Hellroaring.

 

  A base price was set for each allotment that could range from $20,000 on up to hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the population of the area. This had to be wired into the FCC account before the bidding started. Not wanting the big conglomerates to buy up all of the stations, the FCC came up with bidding credits to give the little guy a chance.

  “We qualified for the no ownership bidding credit since neither of us had ownership in broadcasting,” Benefield says. “So we knew going into it that we’d get a 35 percent credit on the total amount we’d have to pay, which is huge.”

  The bidding started in November 2004, and out of 456 bidders, 54 of them were shooting for the Kootenai allotment.

  “A guy out of Walla Walla took us to the very end,” Benefield says. “But we knew he didn’t have the bidding credit and we did.”

  In the most intense two weeks of their lives, Benefield and Voit sat in front of their computers with over $100,000 on the line, constantly trying to judge how much to bid the next round. They watched as one bidder after another dropped out.

  “We made it through 38 rounds, and won at well over $200 thousand,” Benefield
said.

  That credit gave the duo almost $90,000 of extra bargaining power.

  “We were ecstatic,” Voit says. “It was down to the wire with us. We were at our limit and then some. But with the credit we were able to compete with some big dogs, and get some real cash out there.”

  Hellroaring Communications now owns KTPO, but the win of the auction only got them one thing – a license. They still had to come up with a station, tower and all the
necessary equipment. From the time the FCC issued the permit, Benefield and Voit had three years to get it up and running, or lose it. With heavy ties to Blue Sky Broadcasting, they had the advantage of a ready-made studio. They’ll co-locate on a tower on Gold Hill, south of the Long Bridge.

  “KTPO will sign a joint sales
agreement with Blue Sky Broadcasting to manage the station; traffic, accounting,
production, as well as sales,” Benefield says. “At the onset we’ll use one of their studios.”

  Voit and Benefield plan to be on the air by the Fourth of July, barring any complications.

  “This signal will go to north
Kootenai County, Sandpoint, Bonners Ferry and up the Priest River valley. We’re hoping to make it as far as Priest Lake, but this is the first time we’ve run anything off of Gold Hill so we’ll be very interested to see how the coverage is,” Benefield says.

  You may be surprised just how affordable it is to advertise through radio. The base price is $7 dollars for a 30 second slot, and $11 for a 60 second slot. For more information about advertising on the radio with KTPO, call 208-263-2179 or check out their website at www.1067thepoint.com

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