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The zombie walk begins

The FCC has approved the latest application from KEHO-LD, the zombie station from Devers (near Beaumont) that now has approval to relocate to the top of the JPMorgan Chase Tower in downtown Houston.

KEHO and co-owned KZHO will be the only two stations broadcasting from locations other than the Missouri City tower farm.

Expect a religious format on the new station.

Argh! Zombies!

There is little money to be made in low-power TV in small towns. The bigger money is to be made in larger cities.

So how do you position a small-town LPTV station to look as good as it can to a potential buyer?

First, of course, is trying to sell to someone who wants to serve the actual community of license.

Second is the way a number of LPTVs have been sold recently. The licensee of a small-town LPTV station, built or unbuilt, can exploit FCC rules and file applications to move their transmitter closer to a large city as long as the theoretical signal at the new location covers the transmitter site of the old location. (This is classified by the FCC as a minor change to facilities.) Once this application is granted, the process is repeated until the transmitter is in the desired large city. Note that the station need never have actually been on the air during any of these moves.

This is how Hispanic Community Communications Network’s former zombie station KZHO-LD, channel 38, managed to move its transmitter from Victoria to Palacios to Bay City to Houston, where it came to life. And this is the plan of zombie KEHO-LD, channel 49, which is licensed to Beaumont but has a theoretical transmitter site near Devers, in Liberty County. (Theoretical because there is no evidence that this station is actually on the air.) The station was recently sold by HCCN to Elva Rosa and Moises Garza. They have applied to move their transmitter to Houston’s J.P. Morgan Chase Tower, with a transmitter pattern favoring the southeast side of Houston but with enough of a lobe to the east to cover the Devers transmitter site.

Once that license is granted, the station could come back and amend its pattern to better serve the more populated west side of Houston. And Devers will be a long-forgotten memory.