Mercer Island's X-104 avoids death sentence, moving to 88.9FM

by Jonathan Lawson

Mercer Island High School's popular R&B station KMIH/X-104 has successfully maneuvered into a new lease on life, and will move to a new frequency of 88.9FM. The station's current existence at 104.7FM had been threatened by a full-power commercial station which plans to move into the Seattle broadcast area, displacing the smaller class-D station.

Actively responding to the threat, the Mercer Island School District worked with the FCC and Senator Cantwell's office to find a way to keep KMIH on the air. Cantwell proposed a bill which would have elevated KMIH and several other class-D stations to class-A, making them less vulnerable to encroachment by commercial stations.

The solution that finally saved KMIH was a creatively engineered frequency switch, allowing the station to retain its current power level and transmitter site. Apart from the legal bills incurred from negotiating with the FCC, the station's largest expense rising from the change may be printing up new stickers and letterhead, as their moniker "X-104" will have to be abandoned!

Washington State, and the Seattle area in particular, are home to an unusual number of radio stations licensed to high schools, and staffed by students under teacher supervision. Another of these stations, Bellevue High's KASB, is also shifting its frequency from 89.3 to 89.9, in order to raise power a bit, from 8 to 60 watts.

Here's the FCC data for KMIH-Mercer Island and KASB-Bellevue.

article originally published at .

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