A Low Power FM Radio Station could be in the city of Waupaca’s future.
When the Common Council met on Dec. 2, it voted in favor of allowing city staff to seek funding for such a project.
Josh Werner, the city’s IT/communications specialist, said a number of communities in the state either already have such stations are seeking permits to put them on the air.
Low Power FM radio stations are designed by the Federal Communications Commission for government and other groups, he said.
These stations cover a five to eight-mile radius and are meant to cover niche programming, Werner said.
There cannot be any commercials on them, but sponsorships are allowed, he said.
Werner told the council it may be good to consider having a station, because the future of cable access television is questionable today.
“There may be a push to not have to provide these stations,” he said.
A Low Power FM Radio Station would not require the Internet or cable, Werner said.
In meeting with representatives from Waupaca Area Community Radio, he learned that group wants to be a true independent radio station.
“Their board president has been positive about the city moving forward,” Werner said about the potential for Waupaca to have a Low Power FM radio station.
In addition, Werner and City Administrator Henry Veleker met with about 10 individuals in the community for feedback about such a project.
Most of the feedback was favorable, and Werner said the radio station would be an extension of what the city is already doing on Win-TV.
If the city moves forward with the idea, the radio station would be integrated into the Win-TV operation and would share the same resources it has.
Werner sees the potential to form partnerships with schools and area municipalities.
The radio station would cover the city, the towns of Dayton, Farmington, Lind and Waupaca and from Weyauwega to Sheridan, he said.
Werner said it would take $7,360 to purchase the necessary equipment to get the station started.
The city will seek grants and donations for the project. It already applied for a Low Pow FM Radio Station license.
If the city moves forward with the idea, it has until July 21, 2015 to be on the air, or it loses the permit.
Werner said this is the first time in about a decade that the FCC opened a window to apply for such licenses.
“I think it’s a good idea,” Ald. Alan Kjelland said before making a motion to allow city staff to seek funding for the project.