In the sea of contemporary country, classic rock and booty jams that is the Albuquerque airwaves, one station on the dial provided listeners with the hope that things hadn't gone completely to shit. For many people in the Santa Fe-Albuquerque region, KBAC-FM, Radio Free Santa Fe, with their AAA format (adult album alternative), was the only worthy music station on the dial. But recently things have changed, or they have for Albuquerqueans, at least.
On March 2, the 95.9 frequency turned to dead air in Albuquerque. Apparently, the loss can be blamed on the fact that the frequency, which comes out of Santa Rosa, was leased to Clear Channel by its licensed owner, a local attorney by the name of Carl Brasher. This deal was in effect under the station's previous owners as well, prior to Clear Channel's takeover in September of 2000.
“It was really beyond our control,” says Chuck Hammond, regional vice president of Clear Channel. Hammond says the deal no longer made financial sense, so Clear Channel stopped paying the owner of 95.9, who in turn didn't renew the lease. “We are extremely concerned that we cannot currently provide Radio Free Santa Fe to our loyal Albuquerque listeners at this time,” Hammond says.
The future of Radio Free Santa Fe, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, does seem to be intact in Santa Fe, however. The station will continue to be broadcast on the 98.1 frequency and will, in the next month or so, upgrade to a more powerful transmitter that will expand the listening area. According to Hammond, listeners in northern Albuquerque will be able to pick up a weak signal, but for the rest of the city the transmitter will be blocked by the Sandia Mountains.
Meanwhile, Clear Channel will soon be streaming Radio Free Santa Fe online at www.kbac.com (but we all know that just isn't the same). So for now, farewell sweet KBAC, we'll miss your adult alternative sounds.