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Another Radio Player?

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A radio station without a telephone number? No contest line, no request line, and no way to reach the ad sales folks or the GM?

That's what we found when we checked directory assistance in Douglas for KCDQ-FM (95.3 MHz), a station that could cast a pretty big shadow over Tucson in the not-so-distant future.

The station received Federal Communications Commission approval March 22 to set up a 100,000-watt transmitter near Tombstone.

Radio maps show that the new transmitter's strongest signal would cover most of Cochise County, running west, well inside the Tucson city limits. The transmitter's estimated fringe area could range as far east as Lordsburg, N.M., stretching west beyond Marana and Three Points, and north nearly to Kearny.

KCDQ now plays an adult contemporary format, and the station's Web site (www.kcdq.com) says only, "The home of Q95 is coming soon."

KCDQ's parent, Cochise Broadcasting, used to call Tucson home, but moved to Wyoming a couple of years ago with its mysterious mastermind, Ted Tucker.

A former chief engineer at KWFM, Tucson's first FM rock station, Tucker has been a hospital pharmacist, but spends his time buying radio stations in out-of-the-way places, rehabbing them and, in some cases, selling them for a ton of cash.

At the moment, Tucker and his wife are the 50-50 partners in two corporations that own four FM stations in Arizona. KCDQ and KKYZ (101.7 MHz), an oldies station in Sierra Vista, are under the wing of Cochise Broadcasting. Desert West Air Ranchers owns KCDX (103.1 MHz, Classic Hits format) in Florence, and holds the license on KZNO, a Spanish-language station in Nogales that was known as Radio Tricolor.

What may have some radio insiders scratching their heads is whether Tucker plans to use something similar to the rather eclectic programming--if you can call it that--that KCDX's 95,000-watt transmitter booms across a substantial patch of east-central Arizona. Much of Phoenix lies in its fringe reception area, which also extends as far as Flowing Wells, Payson and nearly to Show Low and Safford.

It's the ultimate all-music-all-the-time station.

At first, it sounds like something we've heard before: canned 24/7 programming from a central set of announcers on a satellite feed, with some air for local station identification and commercial spots.

But you don't have to listen very long to realize KCDX is serving up a largely randomized collection of hits and obscure album cuts. There are no commercials, and just a periodic announcement of the station's legal ID.

As to where the money comes from ... remember the comment above about selling stations for "a ton of cash"?

How 'bout this: Late last year, Tucker sold KFMR-FM in Sun City West--a station that blanketed much of Phoenix and the West Valley as a KCDX repeater--to Sun City Communications for $18.7 million. Sun City's partner-manager is another old hand in Tucson radio circles, Mike Cutchall. And to keep it all local, Frank Kalil & Co. was the broker.

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