Dick Mason’s radio deal falls through

May 3, 2013
Dick Mason

Dick Mason

Former Paso Robles talk show host Dick Mason’s plans to buy an Oregon radio station fell through after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) nixed the deal. [NewsRegister]

In September, after five years of hosting Sound Off, Dick Mason left Paso Robles-based KPRL for his home state of Oregon.

Mason then moved to McMinnville and executed a marketing agreement with Bohnsack Strategies that allowed him to assume control of the station with the intent to purchase, subject to FCC approval. However, because of its antiquated broadcasting equipment, the station was unable to meet FCC certification standards, preventing the deal from closing.

Mason then pulled out of the deal. KLYC 1260 AM quit broadcasting on March 22.

After serving a term in the U.S. Army, Mason moved to California where he spent 35 years in radio broadcasting. In the late 80s, he owned KVEC in San Luis Obispo. He went on to work for Mapleton Broadcasting and then KPRL.

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This article is inaccurate.

The FCC never nixed the deal. It never went to the FCC. Mason walked because the seller would not renegotiate the sale price, after Mason discovered some serious engineering issues that were “misrepresented” in the buy/sell agreement. The FCC never saw an ownership transfer, so they never ruled on it. But they’re probably not happy the station is now off the air.

As Mr. Holly indicates, the key to local radio in today’s environment is local news and community involvement. That’s what I listen for, don’t you? Mason was everywhere covering events and news in the North County. No longer does the Tribune attend or cover Paso Robles or Atascadero City Council Meetings, unless there’s a big issue. Same with Cal Coast News.

With Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham, Dennis Miller and the rest of the syndicated shows on KPRL, do we really need to have a Sound Off host calling national figures and ignoring local issues? Since Phil Dirkx, Sound Off has been about local North County issues. Until now. I’d like to see Steve Martin return. He was really good.

Is Joe Benson still alive? Last time I saw him he did not look healthy. Poor guy. Living on cigarettes, wine and Jack-in-the-Box is tough on the body. I hope he’s still around. He owes me $20.

I hear KPRL hired a hot young woman at the front desk. She moved down from King City to marry a Paso local. I went in once to get some circus tickets, but she wasn’t there. But a friend of mine was working on a cable hook-up in the neighborhood, and he went in to KPRL to use the bathroom, and said she was the most beautiful woman he’d seen in the past ten years. But get this. She wouldn’t let him use the bathroom. Something about a bad incident a few years ago.

Bring back Steve Martin!

Funny post. Sorry I missed the most beautiful girl in the world. Always got to use the bathroom although

I disagreed with Kevin on the use of toilet paper. The roll should be set to unroll from the outside.

There is likely more to the reason why Mr. Mason pulled out of the deal. Bill Clinton signed the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which deregulated broadcasting, and over time the FCC requirements and any certifications needed has been reduced, the financial cost too maintain a station to FCC standards can be small. That doesn’t mean a station will stay on the air, the cost to run a station reliability and with backups and well maintained equipment can be costly, but the FCC does not require any of that. Station owners have a choice, put their money into the station to run it well or siphon the money off and let it fall apart, and there are both local and corporate owners who operate station in both these ways. So it is unlikely that the inability to meet FCC certification was the only, or even the biggest reason this deal fell through.

Good luck, Dick, and I hope you find your place on the waves as you were not only a gentleman, your voice, style and demeanor were quality. Best of wishes for your success.

For the record:

Mason also owned “US98”. His prior litany of “Sound-Off” hosts was incorrect. Joe Benson hosted only

for about 3 years. Fred Strong hosted alone only briefly. Ron Fisher hosted for about 10 years.

Jim Shivers hosted for 2 or 3 years. The longest running host was Phil Dirkx followed by Steve Martin.

Local radio is a tough nut. Hats off to KPRL & KVEC for realizing that they have to offer local programming to remain relevant even if the math is iffy. And not the best job if you’re looking for good pay and benefits. Please support the advertisers of both stations regardless of political affiliation.

Sad to hear that things did not work out for Dick. KPRL lost something when Dick left. I do not know what terms that Dick left with Kevin although they were probably not the best. After Dick’s departure Sound Off has almost become a turn off as the local reporting in the North County has been greatly diminished. Hopefully Dick might find somewhere on the local airwaves.

I also miss Dick Mason; he seemed like a nice, down-to-earth, competent radio personality.

But I disagree, Mr. Holly. In terms of local news, all Dick did was read snippets of the Fibune. He had interesting guests but they tended to be the same 10-15 people over and over again.

Dan del Campo has a wider variety of guests, both local and nationally known people. He also asks decent, often hard-hitting questions of the guests whereas Dick Mason only asked “softball” questions.

I don’t always agree w/Mr. del Campo but he definitely is more prepared and thorough as a talk show host.

Regardless, I wish only the best for Mr. Mason and am sorry his radio deal fell through.

KPRL has gone steadily downhill for at least a decade. My circle of friends used to be regular listeners…but the “cranky old guys complaining about everything” format is so tiresome that I typically

switch off or over to something else after the local news. There seems to be about half a dozen

daily callers who have little life outside of their “guest appearances” on The Morning Exchange. I think they are kidding themselves into thinking their listenership numbers are very high. Callers with viewpoints that oppose the “party line” are treated rudely and dismissed. I don’t count Lefty…that guy comes across like a moron too. He’s probably a paid hack like the other regulars who enjoy the sound of their own voices. I guess that’s partially why one gets into the business after all, isn’t it? If you’re into polarized viewpoints, xenophobia and negativity, I suppose KPRL is a good place to tune in, but it’s become a pathetic joke.

I have fond memoris of Dick Mason on KPRL – he was a true gentleman and I STILL miss him. I wish him well and hope he is able to complete his latest adventure…

After all his years in radio he didn’t realize that the FCC is only interested in allowing large corporations to own radio stations? I bet they had a good chuckle at the FCC while reviewing his application, throwing it into the “Fools who have no clout and no kickback money” pile.

You may be on to something here. Most federal fiefdoms have long-established “shadow requirements” that honest people will not do well with. I am wondering what, exactly, about the broadcast towers was lacking to the FCC… too much juice? Wrong color of paint?

I just love how it’s always seems to come down to some bureaucracy and their cryptic regulations that prevent people from investing and creating.

A view from a federal fiefdom tower, (not for the faint of heart)