Pacific Northwest The Federal Communications Commission has approved an Everett radio station's application to build new broadcast towers...

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The Federal Communications Commission has approved an Everett radio station’s application to build new broadcast towers that will boost its signal from 5,000 watts to 34,000 during the day and 50,000 at night.

KRKO-AM 1380’s reach is limited largely to Snohomish County, said Andy Skotdal, president and general manager of the family-owned station. When the new towers begin operating later this year, he said, car radios from Mount Vernon to Tacoma should be able to pick up its sports-based programming.

The power boost also will eliminate gaps in KRKO’s signal within Snohomish County, Skotdal added.

The four new towers — one 349 feet tall, the other three 199 feet tall — will be built two miles south of Snohomish.

Lithia Motors

Job cuts, sale of stores ahead

Lithia Motors, the Medford, Ore.-based operator of 110 U.S. auto dealerships, plans to eliminate jobs and sell as many as 15 stores as rising gasoline prices reduce sales of new vehicles.

The moves will provide $12 million in annual savings, Lithia said Monday. The company will also sell land and its corporate jet, reduce vehicle prices and tailor inventory to meet demand for smaller, more fuel-efficient models.

Lithia didn’t say how many jobs it would eliminate. At the end of last year, the company had 5,828 full-time employees, according to its annual report.

Lithia stock gained 13 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $6.96 Monday.


Store closures may increase

Starbucks may close more than the 100 U.S. cafes it announced in January.

The company has “100 stores in sight” and an “eye on other stores,” Chief Financial Officer Peter Bocian said Monday at the Lodging, Gaming, Restaurant & Leisure Conference hosted by Goldman Sachs Group in New York.


Manufacturing, construction weak

The manufacturing sector shrank for the fourth consecutive month, construction spending has been falling for more than two years, future orders are down and prices are skyrocketing.

The few bright spots, such as strong exports, may be the only things between us and a protracted recession, analysts said.

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said Monday its manufacturing index rose to 49.6 from 48.6 percent in April. It beat expectations of 47.9, according to the consensus estimate of Wall Street economists surveyed by Thomson Financial/IFR.

Still, it was below a reading of 50, signaling that business for machine-tool makers, chemical producers, food companies and many other industries is contracting.


Wi-Fi rewards offer 2 hours free

Starting today, Starbucks will try to lure more customers by offering two hours of free AT&T Wi-Fi a day.

The Wi-Fi freebie is available to those who buy a minimum $5 reloadable Starbucks Card and register online for the Starbucks Rewards Card program. The two hours must be consecutive.

Starbucks’ seven-year relationship with T-Mobile for Wi-Fi is being phased out.


Free program takes on Microsoft Office

IBM today released a free downloadable document program, part of an effort to crack Microsoft’s dominance of office applications.

The Lotus Symphony software is already used by almost 1 million customers, who began testing it in September. Lotus Symphony lets users create documents, spreadsheets and presentations in 24 languages.

IBM plans to sell services to supplement the free software, spokesman Mike Azzi said.

The software’s debut comes two weeks after Microsoft agreed to make its Office program compatible with rival document formats.

Milberg Weiss

Prison sentence in kickback plot

Melvyn Weiss, the co-founder of a law firm known for securities class-action suits, was sentenced Monday to 2-½ years in prison for his role in a lucrative lawsuit kickback scheme targeting some of the largest U.S. corporations.

U.S. District Judge John Walter also ordered Weiss, 72, to pay $9.7 million in forfeitures and $250,000 in fines.

Weiss pleaded guilty to a racketeering conspiracy charge in April as part of an agreement with prosecutors.

Authorities said the firm made about $250 million over two decades by filing legal actions on behalf of professional plaintiffs who got $11.3 million in kickbacks.

The scheme allowed attorneys at the firm once known as Milberg Weiss to be among the first to file suits and secure the lucrative position as lead plaintiffs’ counsel, according to court documents.

The lawsuits targeted companies such as Microsoft, AT&T, Lucent, WorldCom and Prudential Insurance.

Nasdaq OMX

Real-time quotes now free online

The average investor will no longer have to wait 15 or 20 minutes to find out what stocks are doing as several financial Web sites launch free real-time quote services.

Nasdaq OMX on Monday began a six-month pilot program to provide real-time stock quotes for Nasdaq, New York Stock Exchange and American Exchange listings.

CNBC, Google, The Wall Street Journal Digital Network and Xignite are the four companies taking part in the pilot program.

Last week, Yahoo launched real-time quotes on its financial site for NYSE- and Nasdaq-listed companies as well.


Kinko’s name to be history soon

FedEx said Monday it plans to stop using the Kinko’s name on its copy and office-service stores and book an $891 million charge for the quarter that ended Saturday.

The charge relates to a decision about the use of the Kinko’s name and a write-down of the value of its acquisition of the brand.

The charge, which works out to $2.22 a share, was not part of FedEx’s earnings forecast. The company reports its financial results for the fiscal fourth quarter June 18.

FedEx said it will change the name of its FedEx Kinko’s stores to FedEx Office over the next several years.

Also Monday, FedEx’s board declared a quarterly cash dividend of 11 cents a share. The dividend is payable July 1 to stockholders of record at the close of business June 13.

Compiled from The Associated Press, USA Today and Bloomberg News