A question about 77 WABC and their calls...
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Thread: A question about 77 WABC and their calls...

  1. #1

    A question about 77 WABC and their calls...

    Most of us know that 77 WABC is owned by Cumulus. My question is the call letters themselves. Does ABC/Disney still have any right to those calls or did they hand that over to Cumulus?

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by The Youngest Oldie View Post
    Most of us know that 77 WABC is owned by Cumulus. My question is the call letters themselves. Does ABC/Disney still have any right to those calls or did they hand that over to Cumulus?
    The WABC calls are still owned by Disney and Cumulus leases them. Same with KABC, KGO, and WLS.

  3. #3
    Thank you, Big A. I'm all about details big or small. Here's hoping that this will continue for some time.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by The Youngest Oldie View Post
    Thank you, Big A. I'm all about details big or small. Here's hoping that this will continue for some time.
    The main factor is that Disney also uses those letters for their TV stations. Normally when ownership changes, the new owner is required to obtain new letters. That's what happened when WNEW split from Channel 5, and WOR split from Channel 9. Thus, WNYW and WWOR. My understanding is a similar deal will be in place when CBS Radio spins from CBS Corporation. They will retain the current letters on their radio stations.

  5. #5
    I dont think so......the calls are owned by the station licensee...NOT the organization who USED to own it....Callsigns are NOT leased...the only way you can find a call being used with another owner/licensee's permission is a FM or TV station that uses the same call as an AM (which is always the primary holder IF it had them first!)....Case in point: KPRC TV and KPRC-AM used to be owned by the same company then the AM was sold off..now owned by iHeart.....but Channel 2 still has the call KPRC-TV (or DT)...this was agreed when the stations were sold...IF Channel 2 changed calls, NOONE else could pick up the -TV without permission (and paying some $$) to iHeart....(in that case you could call it a lease)...but an AM ALMOST always controls the callsign..

    SO KABC, WABC, KGO, WLS, etc. are all controlled by Cumulus....not Disney (I work for CMLS and used to work for Disney; Citadel and then Cumulus had use of the name ABC RADIO and ABC Radio Networks until the agreement expired a few years ago...but that did not include the callsigns...I own my own AM and tried to get a FM with xxxx to go xxxx-FM so I could to use the call on my AM....but they didnt want to deal....in THAT case, they had it first and thus have control of the call...I ended up with a callsign I like...and if a FM OR TV outside my market wanted to use it, they would have to ask ME for permission.....under the agreement I could withdraw permission and they would have to change call again....and they could never use the call on a different signal without my ok.....IF I changed callsign, then they would become the controlling license for the call...THAT's how it works)

    NOW it IS possible that in the sale of the Disney/ABC radio signals to Citadel, it was agreed the callsigns could remain as long as they stayed on the station in question and if they were removed, Disney would regain control of the AM use of those calls..I would have to check the sales agreements for that
    Last edited by ContinuousWave; 12-08-2016 at 06:54 PM.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by ContinuousWave View Post
    I dont think so......the calls are owned by the station licensee...NOT the organization who USED to own it....Callsigns are NOT leased...the only way you can find a call being used with another owner/licensee's permission is a FM or TV station that uses the same call as an AM (which is always the primary holder IF it had them first!)....Case in point: KPRC TV and KPRC-AM used to be owned by the same company then the AM was sold off..now owned by iHeart.....but Channel 2 still has the call KPRC-TV (or DT)...this was agreed when the stations were sold...IF Channel 2 changed calls, NOONE else could pick up the -TV without permission (and paying some $$) to iHeart....(in that case you could call it a lease)...but an AM ALMOST always controls the callsign..

    SO KABC, WABC, KGO, WLS, etc. are all controlled by Cumulus....not Disney (I work for CMLS and used to work for Disney; Citadel and then Cumulus had use of the name ABC RADIO and ABC Radio Networks until the agreement expired a few years ago...but that did not include the callsigns...I own my own AM and tried to get a FM with xxxx to go xxxx-FM so I could to use the call on my AM....but they didnt want to deal....in THAT case, they had it first and thus have control of the call...I ended up with a callsign I like...and if a FM OR TV outside my market wanted to use it, they would have to ask ME for permission.....under the agreement I could withdraw permission and they would have to change call again....and they could never use the call on a different signal without my ok.....IF I changed callsign, then they would become the controlling license for the call...THAT's how it works)

    NOW it IS possible that in the sale of the Disney/ABC radio signals to Citadel, it was agreed the callsigns could remain as long as they stayed on the station in question and if they were removed, Disney would regain control of the AM use of those calls..I would have to check the sales agreements for that
    I thought that "WABC," "KABC," "WLS," and "KGO" were registered trademarks owned by Disney. Wouldn't that have to be taken into account?
    We have to save the Earth! It's the only planet with football and beer.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by ContinuousWave View Post

    NOW it IS possible that in the sale of the Disney/ABC radio signals to Citadel, it was agreed the callsigns could remain as long as they stayed on the station in question and if they were removed, Disney would regain control of the AM use of those calls..I would have to check the sales agreements for that
    My understanding is that a certain amount of money is involved as well, thus my use of the word "lease."

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by ContinuousWave View Post
    I dont think so......the calls are owned by the station licensee...NOT the organization who USED to own it....Callsigns are NOT leased...the only way you can find a call being used with another owner/licensee's permission is a FM or TV station that uses the same call as an AM (which is always the primary holder IF it had them first!)....Case in point: KPRC TV and KPRC-AM used to be owned by the same company then the AM was sold off..now owned by iHeart.....but Channel 2 still has the call KPRC-TV (or DT)...this was agreed when the stations were sold...IF Channel 2 changed calls, NOONE else could pick up the -TV without permission (and paying some $$) to iHeart....(in that case you could call it a lease)...but an AM ALMOST always controls the callsign..

    SO KABC, WABC, KGO, WLS, etc. are all controlled by Cumulus....not Disney (I work for CMLS and used to work for Disney; Citadel and then Cumulus had use of the name ABC RADIO and ABC Radio Networks until the agreement expired a few years ago...but that did not include the callsigns...I own my own AM and tried to get a FM with xxxx to go xxxx-FM so I could to use the call on my AM....but they didnt want to deal....in THAT case, they had it first and thus have control of the call...I ended up with a callsign I like...and if a FM OR TV outside my market wanted to use it, they would have to ask ME for permission.....under the agreement I could withdraw permission and they would have to change call again....and they could never use the call on a different signal without my ok.....IF I changed callsign, then they would become the controlling license for the call...THAT's how it works)

    NOW it IS possible that in the sale of the Disney/ABC radio signals to Citadel, it was agreed the callsigns could remain as long as they stayed on the station in question and if they were removed, Disney would regain control of the AM use of those calls..I would have to check the sales agreements for that
    Incorrect, according to 47 CFR Section 73.3550(d). Disney, as the original holder of the call signs when Cumulus purchased the AM's, "controls" which stations get to use them.

    Call signs are not "owned" by any licensee. They are a government-ASSIGNED identifier.
    "A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves." - Edward R. Murrow

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by KeithE4 View Post
    I thought that "WABC," "KABC," "WLS," and "KGO" were registered trademarks owned by Disney. Wouldn't that have to be taken into account?
    As a broadcasting attorney once told me, a government-assigned identifier cannot be trademarked or copyrighted. As I recall, she said they could be registered as a service mark, but even that is subject to approval by the FCC, which must approve all call sign assignments.
    "A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves." - Edward R. Murrow

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by dumber than a box of hair View Post
    As a broadcasting attorney once told me, a government-assigned identifier cannot be trademarked or copyrighted. As I recall, she said they could be registered as a service mark, but even that is subject to approval by the FCC, which must approve all call sign assignments.
    Interesting. When Cumulus/WLS-AM/FM was spun off from ABC, I thought I read that the reason that Disney could keep the WLS-TV calls on Channel 7 was because they had trademarked the call letters. Otherwise, they would have had to change it to WMVP-TV.
    We have to save the Earth! It's the only planet with football and beer.

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