Long the most influential voice of Lafayette’s black community, KJCB is off the air. And it’s unclear whether it will return.
The AM station, 770 on the dial, mysteriously disappeared from the airwaves last week.
Earlier this week, Bishop Roy Winbush, president of R&M Broadcasting, which owns the station, told The Daily Advertiser that technical problems were the cause of the shutdown. But, if true, that would be only part of KJCB's problems. What he didn’t tell the daily paper, which was reported Friday, is that the Federal Communications Commission canceled its broadcast license in April of last year for being “delinquent on debts owed to the commission.” That means the station continued to broadcast for almost a year without a valid license.
Station manager J’Nelle Chargois this morning referred The INDsider’s questions to Winbush, who is out of town, according to the woman answering the phone at Winbush's church, Gethesemane Church of God in Lafayette.
It’s unclear what debts the station owes the FCC, as FCC officials did not return phone calls Friday morning. An FCC rep told the Advertiser that when these types of matters go unresolved, the station's frequency is typically auctioned off.
Other financial and potentially legal troubles have recently surfaced for KJCB, as a group of landowners is threatening to have the station evicted from 28 acres of land off Parklane Road in Carencro if it does not vacate the property in the next 10 days. KJCB’s tower and other equipment are on the Carencro property, with its studio located on St. John Street in Lafayette.
A family representative for the Carencro landowners says the station has not paid rent for the property since the late 1980s and that the landowners have tried for years to evict it. “They don’t have a lease. They are really just trespassing,” says the family member, who referred additional questions to attorney Albert Karre.
"My clients and I have no comment," Karre wrote in an email Friday.