1. Low Power FM community radio station for Wheeling
During the fall of 2013, Ohio Valley Peace embarked on a new project. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) offered a rare opportunity for non-profit organizations to apply for Low Power FM (LPFM) radio construction permits (the first step toward an operating license). With encouragement and valuable help from the non-profit Prometheus Radio Project in Philadelphia, we prepared an LPFM application for a Wheeling station and filed by the November 14, 2013 deadline.
On October 10, 2014 we receive the construction permit.
Grandview Street in Wheeling is close to an optimal height and location for a LPFM station. Most of the hills around the city are too high, since LPFM stations are limited to 100 watts at 30 meters above average terrain. We estimate that an LPFM transmitter and antenna at that location will potentially reach a population of 56,000 with a good signal and an additional 50,000 with a weaker signal.
So we started making plans and negotiating with Grow Ohio Valley (the gardeners) to share space across from the water tower on Grandview. However it became clear that their need for space left no good option for sharing the space.
So we are pursuing the possibility of leasing a 15’ x 20’ block building and antenna mast next to the water tower on Grandview from the city. Apparently the building and mast were used for radio communications but have been unused since the 1960s. Though the mast is not as tall as would be good to avoid interference from the water tower, and the building is small and needs work, it is probably our least expensive option for getting the station in operation. A concern with this option is that the city wants to retain the right to terminate the lease at any time.
Here is a sample weekly program which will give an idea of the kind of programming we are envisioning. We will be looking to generate more local community programming.