Two TV stations an FM station and two AM stations are poised to join broadcasters in the Mariana Islands.

Sorensen Pacific Broadcasting Inc. which owns and operates radio stations on Guam and Saipan will soon be jumping into the TV broadcasting industry by launching KPPI on Saipan and KEQI on Guam.

The new TV station on Saipan will broadcast NBC programming. Rex Sorensen chief executive officer of Sorensen Pacific Broadcasting Inc. said the Saipan station should be up and running by the early part of the summer. “It will feature live and up-to-date NBC programming ” he said. “NBC however would like us to air non-time-sensitive programs a week later to keep in line with the day promotions. A program like "Joey " if we received it on a Friday and it airs on a Thursday then we would have to air it the following week ” Sorensen said. Sports programs will air the same time people in the mainland will see the program. “We’ve come to find out that about 50% of the homes in Saipan are not cable subscribers ” Sorensen said.

Because of the competitive nature of broadcasting he would not give details about plans for the Guam TV station but said “We’re already broadcasting. If you live in Dededo and have a TV antenna you should be able to pick up our test signal pretty good. We have a test signal with some light music running in the background.” Sorensen said people should be able to view the new station and its programming on Channel 22 by the end of the summer. He added both TV stations could possibly have programming originating from Saipan and Guam. “We’re a homegrown company; so certainly there will be room for local programming ” he said.

According to the Federal Communications Commission another company is set to start an FM station on Guam. The company is listed as Guam Broadcasting Services Inc. The principles in the company are Gary W.F. “Frank” Gumataotao president with 40% ownership; Toyohito Yoneyama vice president and treasurer 20% ownership; and Yasunori Kawauchi secretary with 40% ownership.

Guam Power II Inc. has applied with the FCC to operate an AM station on Guam. Wagdy Guirguis owner of Guam Resource Recovery Partners based in Hawaii owns 100% of Guam Power II. Guirguis did not want to discuss details but told the Journal “I am ready to go on the air right now. We are in the middle of the engineering phase of it.” Guam Power II was awarded a construction permit by the FCC.

According to the FCC two other companies recently filed their interests in operating AM stations on Guam. Several companies have filed but may not be ready with programming or even have facilities.

The FCC on Nov. 6 2003 announced a Jan. 26 to 30 2004 AM auction filing window for “new AM stations and major modifications to authorized AM facilities.”

Management Advisory Services Inc. and Powell & Meredith Communications both filed to operate new AM stations on Guam.

Management Advisory Services Inc. is owned by Nancy and Robert Kelley — consultant to the telecommunications industry — with Robert owning 51% of the company and Nancy 49%. Management Advisory Services Inc. has applied for two AM stations on Guam and one in Saipan.

“We’re looking to open up a Catholic radio station in Saipan…as for the two AM stations on Guam — they’re far from being ready to go on the air ” Kelly said.

Given the competitive climate on Guam Kelly said he would have to consider the niches left to fill and the programming for those demographics.

Powell Meredith Communications is owned by Scott and Amy Powell with Amy owning 51% of the company while Scott owns 49%. The couple own a popular radio station with the call letters KKHR-FM in Abilene Texas. They also own one other radio station and several other television stations in Arizona and Nevada.

When Powell Meredith Communications began operations in Abilene 11 years ago its owners had no thoughts of owning a radio station on Guam. “I can’t claim any connection with Guam although I almost applied for a job there once a long time ago ” Scott Powell vice president of Power Meredith Communications told the Journal.

From his office at the company’s flagship station Star 106.3 known as “The No. 1 Tejano Hits Station ” Powell explained the licensing process. After looking in every state and territory in the union Powell Meredith Communications submitted about 100 applications to the Federal Communications Commission for new AM service. “We put our application in and after review from the commission staff they determined that the application was not mutually exclusive with any other. ”Thus the FCC awarded Powell Meredith Communications a channel at 1020 kHz in Hagåtña Guam.

The next stage in the process requires engineering studies and planning which must be completed prior to filing FCC Form 301. When submitted the FCC staff review this form and if it meets all of their criteria issues a license. "This is a long process so I don’t think you’ll hear anything on the radio for several years ” Powell said.

Powell along with co-owner and wife Amy Meredith plans to come to the island as part of the engineering study. First the couple plans to take a SCUBA diving course. MBJ