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El Centro-based Fox affiliate KECY moving operations to Yuma

February 20, 2002|By RUDY YNIGUEZ, Staff Writer

The local office of the Fox Television affiliate, KECY, will be moving its operations to Yuma come April 1.

The move, which will not include the Imperial Valley sales staff, results from the federal requirement that TV stations broadcast digital signals by next year and the inability of the station's digital signal to adequately penetrate the moisture and sand between here and its Black Mountain transmitter, according to Christopher Gallu, KECY station general manager.

"To provide the best possible coverage means we really need our master control on the other side of the sand dunes," Gallu said, adding that the cost to keep the master control unit here would be prohibitive because the signal would have to be routed around the dunes.

By moving to Yuma, Gallu said the microwave signal to Black Mountain will be stronger, and Imperial Valley viewers will get their signal over the air, as will Adelphia Cable.

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"Adelphia will have a very good picture," Gallu said. He said the quality of the signal will be comparable to that of other local channels.

What will not be good is the loss of jobs, according to Mayor Larry Grogan.

"They've been a viable, stable business of Main Street," he said, adding that he understands the need to relocate.

Despite the loss, and with the city Redevelopment Agency's downtown revitalization and facade program, Grogan said it should not take long to fill the empty building.

To that end, Gallu said he is ready to discuss the future of the site and building with interested parties. He said the building is about 10,000 square feet and includes office space in the front and a large area that was built as a television studio.

Although moving, Gallu said the station will remain active in the community. He said all of the station's employees — about 20 — have been offered the opportunity to transfer to Yuma with help from the company.

Besides Fox, KECY also carries the signals for Telemundo and Warner Bros. Gallu said by June, Telemundo will be sent to local televisions over-the-air, while the WB will continue to be distributed by Adelphia as it is now.

>> Staff Writer Rudy Yniguez can be reached at 337-3440.

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