If Cumulus wasn't carrying such a heavy debt load, it might be feasible for them to move the KFNZ towers to a new location or have a developer build around them, but it sounds like they're not in any position to bargain. They either sell off some assets and keep the company afloat or file for bankruptcy, which isn't going to please their shareholders. Ditto iHeart and KWDZ: iHeart's debt load is probably what's keeping them from putting KWDZ back on the air permanently. Moreover, with the public's concern about RF exposure from power lines and radio towers, it would be pretty hard to convince a developer to build on a plot of land with two 5 KW radio towers. Since RF exposure is all about proximity to the source, people are probably at a higher risk of developing health problems from having a cell phone pressed to their ear 10-12 hours a day than living a few hundred feet from a high voltage power line or AM radio tower. But a huge power line or radio tower looks more imposing, so some ideas are hard to dispel with the truth.
I do agree with you in regards to Cumulus surrendering the KFNZ license to the FCC. Now that KRUZ (KRRF) has been sold, why wouldn't they broadcast the KFNZ programming using the same transmitter and antenna with a nominal power increase? That way Cumulus could preserve the license until a buyer could be found. There's still nothing new showing in the FCC database for KFNZ, so I guess we'll just have to wait to see what happens with 1320.
I just had another thought. It might be considered cynical but here it goes. In this age of social media, what if part of this is a publicity stunt? I wouldn't be at all surprised if the tower land really was sold, but what if some clever marketing person at Cumulus said 'Hey lets go silent and announce we're off the air for good and wait for the media to go crazy. Then we'll say we changed our minds and go back on the air.' That would actually be a darn smart thing to do. I think more has been written here and elsewhere about the station in the last week than they'd gotten in years. Sacrifice a week or two of low ratings for months or years of noticeably better ratings? Doesn't seem like a bad deal. And this wouldn't be the first time the marketing department at a company said one thing when they really intended to do something else. (My favorite example is when I used to regularly receive commercial spots for a certain company who scheduled a This Weekend Sale and had already produced and scheduled a Held Over By Popular Demand spot for the following weekend even before the first sale/spots had aired. I hated those slimeballs, but they aren't in this market.)
And if anyone from Cumulus is reading this and you HAVEN'T thought of this already, feel free to steal the idea.
I'd say your theory might be plausible if Cumulus wasn't selling off tower sites in other markets as well. Legally, I believe that a station has at least 10 days to notify the FCC after going silent before they're in violation of the Commission's rules. Moreover, the FCC has been known to be somewhat lenient in enforcing its own rules. Recall KWDZ being on the air for a weekend in May last year and not notifying the FCC until three months later due to an "administrative oversight", or KXOL 1660 remaining on the air for almost a year after the FCC canceled the station's license. As far as I know, neither iHeart or KXOL was ever fined by the FCC for those violations, and I doubt anything would happen if Cumulus didn't notify the FCC that KFNZ is dark until a few days past the 10 day "grace period" either.