AMR plans to bring public radio to Hillsboro
Set your FM radio for 91.9 now in Little Levels and youﾒll hear mostly static. Depending on the time of day the static may be interrupted intermittently with strains of classical music from some distant station.
Folks at WVMR plan to change that by placing a 500 watt FM transmitter on Rogers Mountain to bring local programming to the countyﾒs southernmost area.
About 20 interested Little Levels residents met last week ﾗnearly 30 years after WVMR went on the air in Frostﾗto find out more about how they can help. General Manager Cheryl Kinderman said she hopes the station would be on the air by Christmas.
Itﾒs been a long and winding road, to say the least.
WVMR, now Allegheny Mountain Radio, with a repeater for the Durbin area, and stations in Highland and Bath counties in Virginia, first applied for a permit for the Little Levels area more than a decade ago.
But an FCC freeze about that same time held up newﾠ non-commercial licenses until late last year. AMR folks were ready with applications for a transmitter in Hillsboro and also for Marlinton and Franklin in Pendleton County.
As an AM station, WVMR can be on the air for only a certain number of hours per day, but the FM stations in Highland and Bath are on the air 24 hours a day, with local programming before midnight and ﾓcannedﾔ programming after that.
Itﾒs a pricey proposition at more than $100,000. But the stationﾒs community engagement specialist, Drew Tanner, said that some of that is already in the bank.
The AMR board has committed $10,000 of its own, while another $55,000 comes from the U.S. Department of Commerce. State Senator Walt Helmick has allocated $25,000 to be administered by the county commission and the project already has $12,000 from donations. That leaves $8,000 to be raised in time to have the station on the air by July 23, 2011, the drop dead date.
The assembled crowd, if few in number, had plenty of ideas about how to raise that money, including:
ﾕ a Bill Hefner guitar to be raffled
ﾕ a radio with the stationﾒs call letters, which are WVMR-FM for now, but can be changed
ﾕ concerts at Little Levels Heritage Fair
ﾕ a CD by local musicians
Little Levels wonﾒt have a studio to generate programmingﾗat least not yet.
Sarah Riley, who spent more than a little of her childhood at WVMR, suggested a production room where programs could be taped in advance for later air and picked up by DJs who already live in the Hillsboro area.
Once the station is on the air, its coverage area will be known. For now, Tanner said he hopes that the majority of Little Levels and much of the Falling Spring District in Greenbrier County will be covered. In addition, 91.9 may be heard as far north as the southern parts of Edray and Huntersville Districts.
The committee to get 91.9 on the air will meet again February 11 at 7 p.m. in the Hillsboro Library.