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Chinese program source next up to buy KUPA-AM

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The company that has been providing Chinese- and English-language programming to KUPA-AM 1370, some of it from state-run Chinese sources, is now buying the station.

Utah-based Broadcasting Corp. of America is flipping a so-called time brokerage agreement into a $322,000 sale transaction with its programming provider and some affiliated companies.

Should the transaction receive regulatory approval, the new licensee will be California-based Beach Time Broadcast LLC, which already owns the FM translator at 103.9 on the FM dial (call sign K280FC), which simulcasts the AM station’s programming.

Beach Time officials could not immediately be reached for comment Friday.

Some of KUPA’s programming originates from China Radio International based in Beijing, a government-controlled broadcast operation.

The show “Beijing Hour” is described on the English-language version of the CRI page as being live from the Chinese capital, a “twice-daily window” of the day’s news “from the unique Chinese perspective.”

China Radio International’s state-run programming first made inroads into the Honolulu broadcast scene by buying time on Christian-broadcaster-owned KHCM-AM 880 in Honolulu in 2009, when it replaced the station’s country music programming.

References to the station being the Honolulu CRI affiliate persist online, but representatives of KHCM owner Salem Media Hawaii could not be reached.

Current affiliate Beach Time Broadcast comprises two other broadcast companies and other licensees, and is led by CEO James Su.

In addition, disclosures that the Federal Communications Commission requires in broadcast ownership changes show that Beach Time has what are considered attributable interests in 11 radio and television stations in nine states.

One of those companies, EDI Media Inc., has an advertising division that describes itself online as China’s outward media and advertising proxy.

Its broadcasting division owns and operates radio stations and provides TV programming to stations around California and Mexico.

Several of the companies listed in the FCC filing have the same address as Beach Time CEO and as Su, the managing partner.

KUPA-AM 1370 started out its broadcast life as KLNI-AM 1380 but changed frequencies to 1370 over time.

The station has never been highly rated and has had several owners over the years.

One of its longer-term owners was Hawaii Public Radio, which sold the station some time ago when President and General Manager Michael Titterton, with backing from the nonprofit’s board of directors, decided HPR’s future was not on the AM airwaves.

Reach Erika Engle at 529-4303, or on Twitter as @erikaengle.


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