Providence is getting it’s first Low Power FM station

In case you were wondering – remember LPFM or Low Power FM radio? It’s been going on the better part of two decades but construction licenses are being issued.

The station will be on 101.1MHz and be known as WPVD or WPVD-LP as the FCC knows it currently. It’ll have a power output of 100 watts Effective Radiated Power and be on the WSBE tower in Providence with studios at AS220.

The three groups that came together to form this station were Brown Student and Community Radio, AS220 and Providence Community Radio or ProComRad. BSR&C gets 50% of the programming, ProComRad gets 10 hours and AS220 get what remains.

I was at the meeting last night and I can say I had thought I might want to do a show I decided against it. Why? Because as soon as someone mentioned a board from the community to determine programming I knew that is a ship that will never sail for me. They can even do PSA’s. If you’re not familiar a PSA is a Public Service Announcement.

I’ll lend my technical assistance – after all yours truly does have a commercial radio-telephone license. Plus my amateur radio license.

They had said they’ll need about $25,000 to $35,000 for startup/construction. i did a little searching – the FM Exciter will likely cost about $2,000. The antenna can’t be much more than $1,000 and feed line maybe another $1,000. So for the transmitter side you’re looking at $4,000 then there’s the cost to rent the cherry picker to put the antenna up, and any hardware necessary.

Then there is the link from the studio at AS220 to the transmitter. They MIGHT just have line of sight so a microwave link is doable. That alone is about $8,000. Otherwise they’ll have to provide the operating expense of a pair from Verizon or maybe do it over IP. But that means a net connection at both ends.

Then setting up the studio – you need a mixing board, microphones, preamps, maybe a turntable, cd player, and a port to plug PC audio in. I’m thinking a couple thousand dollars there. So about $15K could get it on the air. Then you’d have about $20K for operating expenses.

I think that getting on the air is entirely possible, if the community doesn’t strangle it first. And I might have to buy a radio but oh wait – My Yaesu VX-7R has general coverage from HF on up through UHF. And the broadcast radio band falls right in there.

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