Yesterday, we told you about the possibility of Rich Broadcasting’s four stations going dark thanks to a disputed tower rental bill. We spoke to Rich Broadcasting owner Richard Mecham who told us last night that his stations in Jackson, Wyoming, are still on the air for now but he’s in complete limbo, not knowing what American Tower plans to do. Here’s what Mecham did to try to keep his stations on the air.
Mecham says he started running news stories and liners talking about how Tuesday morning could be the last day that they hear the stations in Jackson. “The stations were inundated with phone calls. I had them post the phone numbers of Peter Starke and Justin White at American Tower on our Facebook page. We got a call from their Salt Lake attorney letting us know that they were aware of the Facebook posting and were not happy about it.” Mecham told the two American Tower representatives he would pull the posting off of Facebook if American Tower got back to him with an extension. He says he never heard back from the company.”
Mecham says he also spoke with Jackson District Ranger, Dale Deiter. “He was told by the regional office in Ogden, Utah, to stop communicating with Rich Broadcasting. They will deal with the issue going forward. I’m hoping that we can put a meeting together with Senator Hatch’s Salt Lake City legislative aid and Nora Rasure, the Intermountain Regional Forester. Rich Broadcasting is currently in limbo. I have absolutely no idea what American Tower plans to do going forward.”
American Tower wants $500,000. Mecham admits he owes the money but says the terms of his deal state the fees should be “reasonable and commensurate with the uses and occupancy of the facilities and services provided and consistent with, and not in excess of, other fees for similar facilities.” Mecham said a reasonable and consistent fee would be more like $100,000. Rich Broadcasting is also in Chapter 11 bankruptcy.