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FM Radio to provide community content from California Grange

By The WIllits News, California (2/24/11)

  MARCH 11, 2011 --

A community-based broadcast showcasing local content is the goal of Dickey Weinkle and members of the Willits FM radio group, located in California, who are promoting interest in a low-power FM station.

The group wants to remodel the south front office beneath one of the old bell towers at the historic Little Lake Grange, setting a recording studio faced with a large picture window.

The station would offer an eclectic mix of locally generated content, including a news show that could be held during the Farmer's Market. Willits High School students have expressed interest in broadcasting football games and other sporting events; ideas have been tossed around for a Saturday date night, with romantic music to set the mood, or performances by area bands.

Weinkle is seeking community input, and has set up a booth at the Willits Winter Farmer's Market on Thursdays at the Grange from 3 to 6 p.m. He is asking interested persons to come by and talk about how to make the station informational and exciting, and is compiling a mailing list of those who would like updates as the project develops.

Currently, an engineer-oriented group that understands the rules and regulations governing broadcasting is working to gather all the required permits and meet Federal Communications Commission requirements for a legally operating station.

Operating a low-power station entails fewer requirements than longer-reaching, higher-powered stations, but Weinkle noted the 3.5-mile signal radius will 

allow listeners to access the station in most parts of town, Little Lake Valley and Brooktrails.

The station also hopes to serve as a vital information source for up-to-the-second information bulletins on traffic issues like the tanker truck rollover last November that caused hours-long traffic tieups, the lightening fires of 2007, and other large-scale events throughout the county, as well as continuing the idea of localization and increased community self-sufficiency.

The station also is looking for a "K" identity, asking community members to submit names for the station's call letters: four letters starting with K that will speak to Willits and localization as a whole.

FM station numbers have yet to be determined; as more information becomes available, Weinkle will contact residents interested in learning more about the project.


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