A suburban Atlanta market AM with a history dating to the late-1970s is no more. Korean-language WDGR (1210) has been mostly off the air during the past several years and with FCC permission to remain silent set to expire on Wednesday (Nov. 14), owner Hye Cha Kim instead turned in the license. Dahlonega, GA-licensed WDGR had been broadcasting at 10,000-watts day and 2,500-watts night.
WDGR went off the air last November after construction equipment disrupted its ground system. Kim had told the FCC she was working to make the needed repairs but “financial limitations” were preventing the job from being completed.
In a filing last week Kim told the FCC the time had run out for WDGR in her mind. In addition to financial difficulties and “repeated acts of theft and vandalism” at the station’s transmitter site, Kim said efforts to sell the station proved unsuccessful. A 2016 deal to sell WGDR to Kyung Sook Park’s Atlanta Radio Korea for $100,000 never closed. So Kim opted to turn in the station’s license. She didn’t really have much choice. The FCC would have revoked WDGR’s license for being off the air for more than a year regardless.
The latest data from the FCC shows the number of AMs continues to slowly slide, declining by another half dozen during the third quarter of 2018. It’s why the FCC has put so much emphasis on helping stations get FM translators. FCC chair Ajit Pai has said that when the final windows and auctions designed to help AM owners secure translators are finished, nearly half of AMs will have a companion FM signal.